Why don’t we celebrate Chamisha Asar B’Av like we did in the olden days? It says in the Gemara (Taanis 26b, 31a) that on the 15th of Av the unmarried girls would go out to the fields and dance and the men would choose wives.
In the times of the Beis Hamikdash Chamisha Asar B’Av was celebrated with the kedusha that existed at that time. I’ll explain that. In the ancient times they didn’t have the influence of the gentile world on the Am Yisroel. Rabbi Yochanan, who lived after the churban, said as follows: “I remember when in the cities of Teveria and Tzipori, the boys and girls of sixteen and seventeen years old, played together in the streets and nobody sinned.” Now, you have to understand that maamar chazal – it tells you what type of holiness, what type of minds they had.
Now, don’t try that today! But in those days the inyan of boys and girls didn’t have a meaning at all like we mean it today. They used to play games in the street – the amei ha’aretz – they played games together and there was no thought of anything else. Because ninety-nine percent of the yetzer hara is artificial – there’s only one percent that’s natural. And the ninety nine percent you have to know comes mostly from the hashpa’a of the gentile world. And that tumah that comes in from the gentile world didn’t exist then in Eretz Yisroel – even in the days after the churban beis hamikdash. That’s what Rabbi Yochanan is telling us.
And in the days of the Beis Hamikdash it was even better. Look, the Gemara says that also on Yom Kippur the men went out to choose their wives. Can you even think of such a thing today? The answer is that Yom Kippur was kulo kodesh. Lifnei Hashem titharu. They purified their hearts. So they went out to look at the girls. The girls were holding hands and they were dancing around in a circle. Little girls – in those days girls married at the age of twelve. They didn’t wait till the old age of sixteen, seventeen. They were twelve year old girls and they were dancing around. And they looked at the girls the way you look over the esrogim before Sukkos. A muvchar you want, with good yichus. “Which pardeis is this esrog from?” you ask. So here too you ask, “Who’s this girl’s father?” “Who’s the grandfather?” You ask about the yichus. And you picked an esrog – a mitzvah, that’s all it was; it was kulo kodesh.
We don’t realize the piety that once existed. It was kulo kodesh! And therefore they could have celebrations like that. Today it’s different. Besides for the fact that today we’re sunk into the tumah of the goyei haaretz over our ears – even the frummeh have to realize that they’re soiled and sullied by all the wickedness of the umos haolam. Only that they have a black hat and a beard that covers it up. But inside they have all these things from the outside world. And therefore we’re not able to celebrate like they did in the days of old.
TAPE # 887