Monday, July 22, 2013

Tu b'Av - A Day of Love

Tu b'Av is a relatively obscure Jewish holiday that falls on the fifteenth day of the month of Av (sundown Sunday, July 21 to sundown Monday, July 22 this year).

The fifteenth day of each month on the Hebrew calendar falls on a full moon, and the holiday was observed as a sort of fertility festival during the period of the Second Temple.  After the destruction of the Second Temple, it was forgotten for the most part in the Diaspora, only to be revived in modern times as a Jewish alternative to Valentine's Day.

To A Lady
by Victor Hugo,
From Les Feuilles D'Automne 

Child, were I king, I'd yield my royal rule,
     My chariot, sceptre, vassal-service due,
My crown, my porphyry-basined waters cool,
My fleets, whereto the sea is but a pool,
     For a glance from you!

Love, were I God, the earth and its heaving airs,
     Angels, the demons abject under me,
Vast chaos with its teeming womby lairs,
Time, space, all would I give--aye, upper spheres,
     For a kiss from thee!

translation by Thomas Hardy
photogravure by Goupil et Cie, from a drawing by Deveria, appears in a collection of Hugo's poetry published by Estes and Lauriat in the late 1800s.

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