TU B’AV: THE JEWISH VALENTINE’S DAY!
“GETTING THE LOVE YOU WANT”
By Sherrie B. Miller
“There were no greater festivals for Israel than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur.
On these days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out…and dance in the vineyards.
And what would they say: “Young man, raise your eyes and see which you select for
What would the beautiful ones among them say? “Look for beauty, for a woman is for
What would those of prestigious lineage say? “Look for family, for a woman is for
What would the unattractive ones say? “Make your acquisition for the sake of Heaven,
as long as you decorate us with jewels” (Talmud, Taanit 31a)
The happiest days for Israel are the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur, because they both
celebrate the holy institution and covenant of Marriage. On Yom Kippur when Bnei
Yisrael received the second luchot, they became betrothed as it were, to HaKadosh
Baruch Hu. Similarly, the day of Tu B’Av is a day that encourages young men and
women to go out and deliberately focus on choosing a partner and make a commitment
In fact, the Midrash points that 40 days prior to the formation of an embryo, the
heavens declare which soul shall be mated with which. Tu B’Av, occurs 40 days prior
to the creation of the Universe which occurred on the 25th of Elul. Tu, tet vav,
is 15, which is also the beginning of Hashem’s name, yud and hay. Tu B’Av was actually
the first brit Hashem made with the Universe.
The continuation of the Gemara above teaches us a great lesson: “alles b’einem,
is nisht do ba’keinem.” This is a Yiddish proverb, which means that no one has it
all! Some of the potential brides were beautiful, some were from “yichus” and some
seemed to offer little on the outside, but as we know still possessed the glow of
a Jewish neshama with great possibilities.
Just as we are not perfect, neither is our future mate. The right person for me
is not a perfect person, but one who will grow together with me and one who will
help to bring out the best in me and vice versa. As Virginia Satir once said: “in
order to find the right person, you have to BE the right person. We need a lot of
self-awareness and work on ourselves on the path that leads to marriage.
The Midrash claims that a heavenly voice declares well in advance who will marry
whom. If this is the case then why are there any singles and why can’t Hashem just
simply present my mate to me clearly?
The bat kol that announces soul-mates cannot do the “hishtadlut” for us as well.
The right one may have been presented and we did not give it a chance, either because
he/she was not my “physical look,” or not within the exact age range I required,
(guys are usually looking for much younger women) in short, not my clone. For this
we cannot be angry at G-d.
We need to know that the best recipe for a happy and lasting marriage is one’s capacity
to give to others. When a couple shares “yirat shamayim” then they can make compromises,
because it is not about what I need, but what does my marriage need right now and
what would Hashem want from me in this situation.
We are not presented with our mate scott free, because we need to exercise our free-will,
that human aspect that differentiates us from any other species.
We must put first things first. We most understand why we say “yotzer ha-adam” under
the chuppah and not at a bris: marriage is the milestone of becoming a whole person.
Without the commitment and dedication to a partner, without the connection to someone
who is a reflection of myself, I cannot really grow and do my tikkun, and I will
continue to be nice and kind only when it suits me.
May the upcoming joyous celebration of Tu B’Av bring us closer to making that holy
commitment, not necessarily to that imaginary “perfect person,” but to the person
who will be my help mate in achieving true unity with him/her and with Hashem.
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish Matchmaker
on SawYouAtSinai.com and works with
Jewish Singles all over the world. She is an educational guidance counselor,
group leader, pre-marital coach, matchmaker and Judaic Studies teacher. Sherrie
is dedicated to promoting and enhancing emotional intelligence and communication
skills in conjunction with Torah values.
Sherrie received her educational counseling degree from the Michlalah in Bayit Vegan
and an M.A. in Education and Counseling from Touro College, Jerusalem, Israel. Sherrie
also holds a B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Brooklyn College and a
B.Sc. from Yeshiva University in Jewish Education. Sherrie is certified by Midreshet
Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital couple’s
counselor and Kallah teacher.
Before coming to Israel in 1989 from Great Neck, New York, Sherrie taught Judaic
Studies at the North Shore Hebrew Academy. Sherrie also educated affiliated and
unaffiliated adults through the “Project Identity” outreach program under the directorship
of Rabbi Yaakov Lerner. Sherrie trained individuals and couples in the laws of Kashrut,
Guidelines of Parenting, Parshat Shavua and Pirkei Avot.
In her work as a Guidance Counselor in the national religious “Mamad” school, "Yehuda
Halevi", Sherrie instructed life skill workshops to students, parents and teachers,
with a focus on communication, conflict resolution and anger management. She also
leads support groups for children of divorce.
Sherrie is certified by the Life Center and leads Parenting workshops based on the
Faber/Mazlish workshops on, “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids
Sherrie is an executive board member of the Emunah World Zionist Organization, Mibreishit,
led by Rav Motti Alon, and Nishmat led my Rabbanit Hanna Henkin.
Sherrie’s diverse background in counseling and teaching, combined with torah principles
and values contribute to the depth and quality of her success with clients. Lessons
drawn from her own life transitions make her coaching perspective uniquely inspirational.
Sherrie helps individuals clarify their goals and take masterful action steps to
reach them. Sherrie is professionally known for her guidance in the educational
system as well as her outstanding capabilities teaching interpersonal relationship
skills to groups and individuals.
Having made a number of successful matches resulting in marriage, Sherrie volunteers
as a matchmaker for SawYouAtSinai, an internet matchmaking site.