Ninth of Av
Tisha B’Av is the culmination of a three-week period of increasing mourning that begins with the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz. During this three-week period, the Scroll of Lamentations is read and prayers are recited during the evening services, and the Torah Scroll cabinet (Ark) is covered by black cloth. In some synagogues the Book of Job is read on the morning of Tisha B’Av.
Weddings, other celebrations, and cutting the hair are not permitted. From the first to the ninth of Av, most people also refrain from eating meat or drinking wine and from wearing new clothing. These restrictions are very similar to the restrictions observed during Yom Kippur. They are:
• No eating or drinking
• No washing or bathing
• No application of creams or oils
• No wearing of (leather) shoes
• No marital relations
Tisha B’Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av. the first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E. and the second Temple by the Romans in 70 C.E.
According to history, many events considered disastrous by the Jews have occurred on the Ninth of Av, also called Tisha B’Av, the saddest day in Jewish history.
The First Occurrence
• Av 9, 1312 BC – Only two of the twelve spies sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan, Joshua and Caleb, returned with a positive report. The ten spy report caused the Hebrews to cry, panic, and despair of ever entering their Promised Land.
For this, they were punished and Yahweh decreed that their generation would not enter the land and for all future generations this date would become one of crying and misfortune for their descendants, the Jewish people. (Numbers Chapters 13:25-14:12, Zechariah 7:3-5, 8:19).
First and Second Temple Destructions:
• Av 9, 422 BC – The First Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Judeans were sent into the Babylonian exile.
• Av 9, 70 AD – The Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah was destroyed by the Romans on August 4, 70 AD.
• Av 9, 71 AD – The Roman army plowed Jerusalem with salt on July 25, 71 AD.
• Av 9, 132 AD – The Romans crushed Bar Kokhba’s revolt and destroyed the city of Betar, killing over 100,000 Jews, on July 8, 132.
• Av 9, 135 AD – The destruction of Simeon Bar Kockhba’s army on August 5, 135 AD.
• Av 9, 1095 AD – The First Crusade was declared by Pope Urban II on July 20, 1095.
• Av 9, 1190 AD – 500 Jews died as a result of the rich storming a castle in York England on July 14, 1190.
• Av 9, 1290 AD – July 25, 1290 – Jews forced out of England.
• Av 9, 1290 AD – July 21, 1306 – The Jews were expelled from France.
• Av 9, 1492 AD – August 11, 1492 – Jews forced out of Spain.
• Av 9, 1914 AD – World War I begins on August 1, 1914. Russia also launches persecutions against the Jews in Eastern Russia on this same day.
• Av 9, 1941 AD – On August 2, 1941 SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for “The Final Solution”.
• Av 9, 1942 AD – The mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka began On the eve of July 23, 1942.
• Av 9, 1994 AD – The Jewish community center in Buenos Aires was bombed killing 86 and wounding 300 others on Monday July 18, 1994.
• Av 9, 2005 AD – Starting at midnight on August 14, 2005, the entry and presence of Israeli citizens in the Gaza Strip is prohibited.
Yahweh declared that Tisha B’Av would be a day of mourning and misfortune. To see these occurrences as simply coincidence would deny His word. Let us pray that Av 9th 2013, which falls today, on July 16, 2013, is not yet another day of disaster for our Jewish brothers.