Defining Love: Tu B’Av

August 7, 2014
Reading time: 3 minutes
Love, Relationships


This week, we celebrate the kabbalistic holiday of Tu B’Av, the 15th day of Leo, and more commonly referred to as the ‘Day of Love’ by the kabbalists. It is one of the most powerful days in the year; when the union between the sun and the moon begins, the male and female aspects close in together, like two soul mates reuniting as one.

The kabbalists explain that the reason there is so much pain and chaos in the world is because we personally, and globally, have created separation between the supernal male and female. When we understand this, we begin to see just how important our personal relationships are, not just to ourselves, but to the world! Being on a spiritual path means striving to replace judgment with mercy, hatred with love. Ironically, it is often in our closest relationships that we find this most difficult! Any long-married couple can tell you that no one has the ability to push buttons like a husband or wife. But it is in these relationships where we have the ability to create the most change for ourselves and the world. It is the unity of the male/female aspects in this world that determines the Light that flows from the supernal world.

One need only glance at the headlines to see that we have some serious work to do here. The fact is that all relationships take work. There is no such thing as a stable marriage or relationship; they are either growing or declining, and it is your responsibility to nurture all of your relationships.

During my meetings with married couples, I am often struck by the way people try to work on their relationships. For instance, there is a distinction between putting energy into your partner versus putting energy into your relationship. Think about that. They are two different things! When we put energy into another person, rather than the relationship, we tend to make ourselves smaller.

Look at this in light of the definition of ‘relationship’:

1. ‘the way in which two people regard/behave towards each other’
2. ‘when one thing/person is considered in relation/comparison/proportion to something else’

In proportion and in comparison, notice that there is no distinction between the power of the supernal male and female, they are equal. One does not need to make oneself smaller to create great Light. So often in our relationships, we try to fix dysfunction by attempting to please the other person, but this always has a price and does nothing to affect and improve the health and unity of the relationship.

Putting energy into the relationship means setting aside our agenda and really opening ourselves to hearing our partner and respecting their path – while still retaining and honoring our own desires. When we stop trying to make ourselves smaller, we can create a powerful connection by communicating our wants, needs and desires. This will take time and practice, but first we must decide to do so.

Whether we are in a relationship or are hoping to be in a relationship, there is no other day of the year when we can draw that perfection, that energy of our soul mate. It’s a joyous day, not because of that initial moment of connection at the beginning of a relationship (which is cause for joy, certainly), but because it is the day that holds the perfection of that relationship and the potential blessings and miracles that a soul mate relationship has the ability to create in the world.

The Zohar mentions several times that there are two aspects to the Light of the Creator; male and female. Think of the male aspect as our spiritual father and the female aspect as our spiritual mother, both wanting to protect us and shower us with abundance. When we do a positive action, such as sharing or restricting anger, we create a union of the supernal male and female energy, and this joining reveals Light.

The greater and more difficult the action is for us, the greater the union and thereby the greater the Light that was created by that action. It’s so simple. When we do something positive, humanity as a whole benefits from the unity through the supernal male and female.

Unfortunately, the opposite is equally true. When we create negativity in this world, we create separation between the supernal male and female. If there is no connection between the supernal male and female, no life flows down into our world and humanity experiences pain and suffering.

We all should be striving, for ourselves and for humanity as a whole, to transform ourselves so that pain and suffering end. We do this by being loving and generous, by pushing ourselves beyond what is comfortable for us to give and thereby bringing the supernal union of the male and female.


Make someone in your life feel especially loved.

Happy Anniversary, Michael!
Your heart & my heart are very old friends. – Hafiz


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