15 Ways to Attract Love into Your Life
How to tap into the energy of Tu B'Av. the holiday of Loveby Aleeza Ben Shalom
Tu B'Av, literally the 15th day of the month of Av, is a joyful moment in the Jewish year. It's a day of energy and love, with a special emphasis on marriage. Although it has hardly any religious rituals, it is a day known as an auspicious time for dating, engagements and weddings. What potential!But what if the day ends and you still haven't met your soul mate? Did you miss your chance? Should you give up and wait for next year? Of course not! While there is a special energy to this day, you have an opportunity every day to draw your soul mate closer. In honor of Tu B'Av, here are 15 ways to attract love into your life.
1. Love thyselfAre we are looking for love in all the wrong places? With or without your soul mate, you will always do best when you start by loving yourself. This means acting in loving ways towards yourself. I'm not speaking about ego; I'm talking about taking loving care of yourself. Don't wait for someone else to come along and take care of you. What have you done for you lately?
2. Receive love from othersYour soul mate, whether or not you've already met, will be one of many people who love you. Today, practice receiving love from someone in your life. What will your reaction be to someone who shares random acts of love with you?
3. Sparking the flameEvery season comes with its own special gifts. The season of love is no exception. This is a great time of year to spark feelings of love in someone else with loving gestures. Like a candle flame, love won't diminish when shared; rather it will bring more love and light into the world. How will you share love today and ignite love in another?
4. Thank someone for acting with loveWe are surrounded by loving people. Today, choose to see the love that surrounds you. How will you express gratitude to someone who acts lovingly towards you?
5. Make a listThink back to moments in time where you felt loved. Who made you feel loved? How did they express their love? List 5 moments where you felt loved and write down what made you feel that way.
6. I'm loving you"I love you" is a statement. But love is a verb! So really, we should be saying, "I'm loving you." How do we come to love another? Our love grows towards a person when we give to them. Whether it is your time, emotional support or physical help, giving to your loved ones is what builds the bond of love. What will you give today to develop and further your relationship with someone close to you?
7. Your theme songMusic can carry us to places that words cannot. Do you have a song that helps you to feel loved, safe and calm? Create a playlist of the songs which put a smile on your face and bring a loving feeling into your heart. From that list, pick one song to be your theme song. Your theme song will center you, lifting you up when you're down and keeping you anchored when you're high, so you can live and love with balance.
8. Love fearlesslyDon't base your love on being loved back. Give love without the expectation of receiving anything in return, and feel good about it! Love is unconditional. Who do you love unconditionally? Why?
9. It just takes toothpasteDid you know that you can shine silver with toothpaste? You don't need fancy silver polishes to make your finest pieces shine. Simple, ordinary toothpaste: we all have it and we all use it for its normal purpose. But it can make more than just our teeth sparkle! Like toothpaste, we all have surprising versatility. Come up with one way to use your love that is different from what you've done in the past. Notice how this part of your life starts to shine.
10. A hot glue gunA hot glue gun can fix many things. Heat + glue = connection. But what if you're looking to connect emotionally? Then the equation looks more like: loving words + hearts = connection. It is a Jewish concept that words from the heart enter the heart. Whose heart will you strike today with loving words?
11. How do I love thee?"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..." Think of someone you love and list all the reasons why you love him or her. How many virtues can you list? Most of us have not focused on virtues enough. Without that focus, we are left noticing things that draw us further apart. Expanding your vocabulary of virtues will increase your connection to others. How many virtues can you list about someone you love? Discover 10 new words that help capture the essence of that person.
12. You look marvelous!Some days you look in the mirror and love what you see. Other days you can't bear to face yourself. This can often have more to do with how we feel than how we look. We present ourselves differently when we are feeling loved. Love plays a big part in how we feel; could it also play a part in how we dress? How do you dress when you are feeling loved?
13. I love you to deathWe all have loved ones. But sometimes it takes the fear of death to bring us to express our love. Take a moment to express loving words to someone in your life who is alive and well.
14. Actions speak louder than wordsHearing "I love you" feels good, whether it's from a parent, sibling, good friend or spouse. A loving action, however, can go further. What loving actions do you prefer to perform and receive, and why?
15. 1+1=1You know the phrase, "my other half." Well, that lines up with Jewish wisdom, which teaches us that you and your soul mate are two halves of a whole. By taking care of your "other half" you are also taking care of yourself. Close your eyes and envision a loving relationship with your soul mate. What small daily acts of loving kindness are you looking forward to performing?
There are endless forms of love that we receive from so many different people in our lives. You are already surrounded by those who love you; keep that in mind as we approach the Jewish day of love. I hope these ideas help you to deepen the loving feelings you share with those around you. And may those inner feelings of love attract your true love to you, and keep love growing always and in all ways.
The Mishnah tells us that: "No days were as festive for Israel as the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur." (Tractate Ta'anit) What is Tu B'Av, the 15th of the Hebrew month of Av? In which way is it equivalent to Yom Kippur?
Our Sages explain: Yom Kippur symbolizes God's forgiving Israel for the sin of the Golden Calf in the desert, for it was on that day that He finally accepted Moses' plea for forgiveness of the nation, and on that same day Moses came down from the mountain with the new set of tablets.
Just as Yom Kippur symbolizes the atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf, Tu B'Av signifies the atonement for the sin of the Spies, where ten came bearing such negative reports which reduced the entire nation to panic. As a result of that sin, it was decreed by God that the nation would remain in the desert for 40 years, and that no person 20 or older would be allowed to enter Israel. On each Tisha B'Av of those 40 years, those who had reached the age of 60 that year died – 15,000 each Tisha B'Av.
This plague finally ended on Tu B'Av.
Six positive events occurred on Tu B'Av:
Event #1 - As noted above, the plague that had accompanied the Jews in the desert for 40 years ended. That last year, the last 15,000 people got ready to die. God, in His mercy, decided not to have that last group die, considering all the troubles they had gone through. Now, when the ninth of Av approached, all the members of the group got ready to die, but nothing happened. They then decided that they might have been wrong about the date, so they waited another day, and another...
Finally on the 15th of Av, when the full moon appeared, they realized definitely that the ninth of Av had come and gone, and that they were still alive. Then it was clear to them that God's decree was over, and that He had finally forgiven the people for the sin of the Spies.
This is what was meant by our Sages when they said: "No days were as festive for Israel as the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur," for there is no greater joy than having one's sins forgiven – on Yom Kippur for the sin of the Golden Calf and on Tu B'Av for the sin of the spies. In the Book of Judges, Tu B'Av is referred to as a holiday (Judges 21:19).
In addition to this noteworthy event, five other events occurred on Tu B'Av:
Events #2 and 3 - Following the case of the daughters of Zelophehad (see Numbers, chapter 36), daughters who inherited from their father when there were no sons were forbidden to marry someone from a different tribe, so that land would not pass from one tribe to another. Generations later, after the story of the "Concubine of Giv'ah" (see Judges, chapters 19-21), the Children of Israel swore not to allow their daughters to marry anyone from the tribe of Benjamin. This posed a threat of annihilation to the tribe of Benjamin.
Each of these prohibitions were lifted on Tu B'Av. The people realized that if they kept to their prohibition, one of the 12 tribes might totally disappear. As to the oath that had been sworn, they pointed out that it only affected the generation that had taken the oath, and not subsequent generations. The same was applied to the prohibition of heiresses marrying outside their own tribe: this rule was applied only to the generation that had conquered and divided up the land under Joshua, but not future generations. This was the first expression of the merging of all the tribes, and was a cause for rejoicing. In the Book of Judges it is referred to as "a festival to the Lord."
Over the generations, this day was described in Tractate Ta'anit as a day devoted to betrothals, so that new Jewish families would emerge.
Event #4 - After Jeroboam split off the kingdom of Israel with its ten tribes from the kingdom of Judea, he posted guards along all the roads leading to Jerusalem, to prevent his people from going up to the Holy City for the pilgrimage festivals, for he feared that such pilgrimages might undermine his authority. As a "substitute," he set up places of worship which were purely idolatrous, in Dan and Beth-el. Thus the division between the two kingdoms became a fait accompli and lasted for generations.
The last king of the kingdom of Israel, Hosea ben Elah, wished to heal the breach, and removed all the guards from the roads leading to Jerusalem, thus allowing his people to make the pilgrimage again. This act took place on Tu B'Av.
Event #5 - At the beginning of the Second Temple period, the Land of Israel lay almost totally waste, and the wood needed to burn the sacrifices and for the eternal flame that had to burn on the altar was almost impossible to obtain. Each year a number of brave people volunteered to bring the wood needed from afar – a trip which was dangerous in the extreme.
Now, not just every wood could be brought. Wood which was wormy was not permitted. And dampness and cold are ideal conditions for the breeding of worms in wood. As a result, all the wood that would be needed until the following summer had to be collected before the cold set in. The last day that wood was brought in for storage over the winter months was Tu B'Av, and it was a festive occasion each year when the quota needed was filled by that day.
Event #6 - Long after the event, the Romans finally permitted the bodies of those who had been killed in the defense of Betar (in the Bar Kochba revolt) to be buried. This was a double miracle, in that, first, the Romans finally gave permission for the burial, and, second, in spite of the long period of time that had elapsed, the bodies had not decomposed. The permission was granted on Tu B'Av.
In gratitude for this double miracle, the fourth and last blessing of the Grace After Meals was added, which thanks God as "He Who is good and does good." "He is good" – in that the bodies had not decomposed, "and does good" – in that permission was given for the burial.
To this day, we celebrate Tu B'Av as a minor festival. We do not say Tahanun on that day, nor are eulogies rendered. By the same token, if a couple are getting married on that day (and, as we will see below, it is the custom for the bride and groom to fast on their wedding day), neither fasts.
Beginning with Tu B'Av, we start preparing ourselves spiritually for the month of Elul, the prologue to the coming Days of Awe. The days begin to get shorter, the nights get longer. The weather, too, helps us to take spiritual stock: the hectic days of the harvest are over for the farmer, and the pace has slowed down considerably. Even on a physical level, the heat of the summer makes it hard to sit down and think things out, and now that the days and nights are cooler, it is easier to examine one's actions.
In earlier times, it was the custom already from Tu B'Av to use as one's greeting "May your inscription and seal be for good" (ketiva vahatima tova), the same blessing that we today use on Rosh Hashana. Those who work out the gematria values of different expressions found that phrase adds up to 928 – and so does the words for "15th of Av."
SEE WHERE IT'S MADE!
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