By Richard Sison | 2016
Tisha B'Av also known as "the ninth of Av” (Hebrew: תשעה באב or ט׳ באב ) is an annual day of remembrance and a fast day among the Jewish people. It is a day when they commemorate the anniversary of a several disasters that occurred in Jewish history. The most notable is the destruction of both the First Temple by the Babylonians and the Second Temple by the Romans in Jerusalem."
The 9th of Av is considered as the saddest day in the Jewish calendar and it is therefore believed to be a day which is destined for tragedy.
The Mournful Events. In the year is 1313 BCE, the Israelites are in the desert, recently having experienced the miraculous Exodus, and are now poised to enter the Promised Land. In the process of conquering the Promised Land, first they dispatch a reconnaissance mission to assist in formulating a prudent battle strategy. The spies return on the eighth day of Av and report that the land is unconquerable. That night, the 9th of Av, the people cry. They insist that they'd rather go back to Egypt than be slaughtered by the Canaanites. G‑D is highly displeased by this public demonstration of distrust in His power, and consequently that generation of Israelites never enters the Holy Land. Only their children have that privilege, after wandering in the desert for another 38 years."
The First Temple was also destroyed on the 9th of Av (586 BCE). Five centuries later (in 70 CE), as the Romans drew closer to the Second Temple, ready to torch it, the Jews were shocked to realize that their Second Temple was destroyed the same day as the first."
Six decades after the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jews once again rebelled against Roman rule. They believed that their leader, Simon bar Kochba, would fulfill their messianic longings. But their hopes were cruelly dashed in 133 CE as the Jewish rebels were brutally butchered in the final battle at Betar in the 9th of Av. One year after their conquest of Betar, the Romans plowed over the Temple Mount, Israel’s holiest site."
Just over 10 centuries later, the Jews were once again experienced another blow after they were expelled from England in 1290 CE on Tisha b'Av. In 1492, the Golden Age of Spain came to a close when Queen Isabella and her husband Ferdinand ordered that the Jews be banished from the land. The edict of expulsion was signed on March 31, 1492, and the Jews were given exactly four months to put their affairs in order and leave the country. The Hebrew date on which no Jew was allowed any longer to remain in the land where he had enjoyed welcome and prosperity is in the 9th of Av."
World War II and the Holocaust, historians conclude, was actually the long drawn-out conclusion of World War I that began in 1914. And yes, amazingly enough, Germany declared war on Russia, effectively catapulting the First World War into motion, on the 9th of Av, Tisha b'Av."
What do you make of all this? Jews see this as another confirmation of the deeply held conviction that history isn't haphazard events – even terrible ones – are part of a Divine plan and have spiritual meaning. The message of time is that everything has a rational purpose, even though we don't understand it. [source: chabad.org]."
Traditional Observance. Tisha B'Av falls in months of July or August in the Gregorian calendar. This day is observed which includes five prohibitions, to wit:"
1. No eating or drinking;"
2. No washing or bathing;"
3. No application of creams or oils;"
4. No wearing of (leather) shoes;"
5. No marital (sexual) relations."
The Book of Lamentations, which mourns the destruction of Jerusalem is read in the synagogue, followed by the recitation of kinnot - liturgical dirges that lament the loss of the Temples and Jerusalem. This day has also become associated with the remembrance of other major calamities which have befallen the Jewish people. Some kinnot also recall events such as the murder of the Ten Martyrs by the Romans, massacres in numerous medieval Jewish communities during the Crusades and The Holocaust, among other things.
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