Imagine that the earth was going to be destroyed within five years, and that you were tasked with deciding what literary treasures to preserve? That is the background of the Tanakh that we have today. The Talmud records the bare bones of discussions where scholars fought for the inclusion of those writings that were dear to them, often against ferocious opposition from their colleagues. Amazingly, of all the possible things to include, the famous Rabbi Akiva chose a collection of bawdy wedding songs! What lay behind such an odd choice?
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel used to say, “There were no days more joyful for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What were they saying: Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)?” Seven Days after Tisha b’Av, we complete our mourning, dancing over the abyss.