Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The Mishna tells us (Taanis 26b) that on the 15th of Av, unmarried girls would borrow clothes, dance in the vinyard, and invite the unmarried men to choose them for marriage.

The Talmud (Taanis 30b) gives a list of historical reasons that make the 15th of Av a holiday on par with Yom Kippur.

One of the reasons given is that the Jewish people found a way around their vow not to give their daughters to Binyamin (Shoftim 21:1), after the story of the Pilegesh in Givah (Shoftim 19, 20, 21).

Their solution was to have the Benyaminite lie in wait in the vinyards, and when the daughters of Israel would dance in the vinyards, the Benyaminites would take them, without the fathers breaking their vow by giving their daughters to the Binyaminites. (See Shoftim 21:20 and on)

These two things (the unmarried girls dancing in the vinyards every 15th of Av, and the Binyaminites taking dancing girls in the vinyards) seem very similar. Are there any sources that discuss the connection between the two? Was the story with the Binyaminites the start of the yearly custom? Did the custom precede the story with the Binyaminites?

I'm looking for sources that discuss this.

share|improve this question
Interestingly, The Mishnah talks about the daughters of Yerushalaim (Where the Holy Temple was), and the story with the Binyaminites talks about the daughters of Shiloh dancing (Shiloh was where the Mishkan was at the time of the story) –  Menachem Jul 17 '13 at 4:13
Didn't they specifically go out there because the tribe of Benjamin was low in number so the othe tribes wanted to help them by giving them more women to mate with and expand? –  MoriDoweedhYaa3qob Jul 17 '13 at 13:19
@Mor: But why were they so few in number? Because the rest of the jews almost wiped them out. Why didn't they just give their daughters to the Binyaminites? Because they swore not to. –  Menachem Jul 17 '13 at 15:19
Tribe of Benjamin was fewer in numbers to begin with. So that they wouldn't be exterminated fully they were given women. I forgot what exactly what happened. They swore not to give them women because the tribe did something wrong in the earlier chapter. –  MoriDoweedhYaa3qob Jul 17 '13 at 16:07
@Mor: I'm not sure what you're trying to say. Read Shoftim Chapters 19,20,21 (linked above) and you can see what happened. –  Menachem Jul 18 '13 at 21:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.