(JNS.org) About 1,000 Jews visited the Jewish holy site of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus Monday night for special prayers on the auspicious Jewish holiday of love, Tu B’Av.
The large gathering was coordinated in advance by the IDF. Clashes erupted at the tomb when Palestinian rioters threw rocks at soldiers guarding the Jewish worshippers, and the IDF was forced to implement crowd control measures to quell the riots, Palestinian media reported. The IDF, however, reported no security incidents associated with the visit.
According to the Book of Joshua, Joseph was buried outside of the city of Shechem, which is modern-day Nablus in the disputed territories. As part of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Jewish prayer at the site is limited to once a month during the middle of the night, when the IDF secures access to the tomb.
The 15th of the Hebrew month of Av, or Tu B’Av, is a largely unknown Jewish holiday outside of Israel. In ancient Israel, communal observance of Tu B’Av included a ceremony in which young women of marriageable age danced in vineyards, in fine white clothing, hoping to be chosen by young suitors.
Inspired by the account given in the Talmud, Tu B’Av has been revived in modern Israel as a Jewish counterpart to Valentine’s Day.