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As discussed in Taanis 31a, it was on Tu B'Av that the men of Yisrael sent their daughters to dance in the vineyard as a loophole to their vow not to marry their daughters off to Shevet Binyamin, in order to keep the Shevet from dying out. On a related note, Taanis 26b discusses that such a minhag continued on afterwards.

Several questions on here discuss the history of this minhag, when it stopped, and whether some communities continued it. But how did the minhag begin in the first place? If you want to say that the case of Pilegesh B'Giv'ah was a case of eis la'asos laHashem, fine, but how wasn't it a violation of tznius for years to come? After all, although one is obligated to see his future wife before marrying her (Kiddushin 41a), one is also not supposed to be out in the public spotlight, looking for attention (Michah 6:8, identified by Makkos 24a as one of the fundamental principles of the Torah).

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    @DonielFilreis This question assumes that their mate finding activities were immodest immodest. This still seems like an unfounded assumption. The sources you cite just encourage modesty; they don't tell us that the case in question was immodest. – mevaqesh Aug 8 '16 at 21:36
  • It wasn't instituted as a shidduch finding system, but as a temple oriented chag. The shidduch oriented aspects evolved from that, perhaps as an outgrowth of the Binyamin incident. – josh waxman Aug 9 '16 at 2:32
  • There is a Benei Yisaschar that explains this topic pretty well if I'm not mistaken. – TrustMeI'mARabbi Aug 9 '16 at 21:38
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R. Yitzchak Abadi has a responsum (Ohr Yitzchak Vol. 2 Inyanim Shonim #10) in which he writes as follows:

וזכורני שישבתי לפני זמן רב בחתונה עם הרב שמעון שוואב ז"ל ולא היה שם מחיצה וכשהתחילו לרקוד יצא מן האולם ואני אחריו ואשאלהו הלא בסוף מסכת תענית (דף כו:) כתוב שבנות ישראל היו יוצאות במחול ביום הכפורים ובט"ו באב והיו אומרות בחור שא נא עניך וכו' ולא הניחני בלעי רוקי ומיד אמר איזה דמיון זה שמה לא רקדו כמו שרוקדים היום אלא שהלכו במחול וסיבובים ובזה לא היה חוסר צניעות ח"ו אלו היו דבריו ז"ל

And I remember that I sat a long time ago at a wedding with R. Shimon Schwab, his memory for a blessing, and there was no partition. And when they began to dance he left the hall, and I after him. And I asked him, "is it not written at the end of Ta'anit (26b) that the daughters of Israel would go out in dance on Yom Kippur and Tu B'av, and they would say 'young man, lift up your eyes' etc?" And he did not let me swallow my saliva and he said immediately, "what kind of comparison is this? There they did not dance like they dance today; they just walked in a dance and circles, and there was no lack of modesty in this Heaven forfend". These were his words, his memory for a blessing.

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  • I find this especially funny as Rabbi Schwab's first American pulpit, Shearith Israel in Baltimore, used to simply march around the shul on Simchas Torah (like we all do for hoshanos). Then one year Rabbi Schwab decided he would dance. So he and the chazzan danced, while everyone else resolutely marched. – Shalom Aug 5 at 8:06

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