Tisha B’Av – Ninth day of Av
The fifth month of the Hebrew calendar year is Av. The ninth day of this
month is a day of fasting, mourning and prayer to G-d. This fast, as does
Yom Kippur, begins at sundown and ends the next night.
Why the Ninth of Av
After the exodus from Egypt, the Jews sent 12 spies to scout the land of Israel. Upon returning, 10 spies gave a terrifying report about the land. They said it would be impossible to conquer and settle the land.
A great debate ensued. The people, overcome by emotion and tears decided not to follow Moshe into the Land of Israel. This occurred on the Ninth day of Av.
For this great sin, G-d decreed that that generation – the males who were from the ages of 20 – 60 when they left Egypt – would not be allowed to enter into Israel and had to wander in the desert for forty years. Only the next generation entered the land.
In addition, since on that day the nation shed tears for naught, G-d decreed that in the future, on the Ninth of Av, He would give the people a reason to grieve. It is not coincidental that many major calamities that befell the Jewish people throughout our history occurred on the Ninth day of Av.
The Land of Israel was settled by the Jews under the leadership of Joshua and eventually the Kingdom of David was established. King David began preparations to build a Temple to G-d, while his son Solomon actually erected the Temple.
The Temple was the most holy place of worship. The presence of G-d was continuously revealed in the Temple. All who came, Jew and gentile alike, were spiritually inspired.
The Temple consisted of two enormous stone edifices with a huge courtyard and was encompassed by a wall. The Temple stood on Mount Moriah.
The only place where animal, bird, meal and incense offerings were allowed to be offered was in the Temple on its two Altars. A seven branched golden candelabra was lit there each evening.
Men from the Priestly Kohain family were permitted to perform the various services in the Temple; men from the Levite family guarded the Temple and sang and played music each day in the Temple.
However, the Jewish people committed great sins and G-d sent prophets to warn them that if they did not change their ways they would be exiled from Israel and the Temple would be destroyed.
This prophesy came to pass on the Ninth of Av in the year 463 BCE. After 410 years of existence the Temple was set ablaze by the officer Nevuzraden who acted upon the orders of Nevuchadnetzar the King of Babylon. Many Jews were killed and the nation was exiled.
During the 70 year exile from the Land of Israel, the Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Persian Empire, and it was during this time that the Purim story took place.
In the year 353 BCE, Ezra the Scribe was granted permission from the King of Persia to lead the Jews back to Israel, and begin construction of the Temple. It took 4 years to complete and throughout its existence it was remodeled a number of times. Its final and most complete renovation was done by
King Herod, with the permission of the Rabbis. The remnants of this Temple can be seen in Jerusalem today.
During the period of the second Temple not all Jews returned to Israel. A large population of Jews remained in exile and migrated into other countries.
The Chanukah miracle occurred during the existence of the second Temple.
For many years Israel was governed by the Selucids and Romans. While under the rule of Rome, the people revolted and a great war with the Romans began. After three years of war, under the leadership of Titus, the Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem and sacked the city. On the Ninth dayDestruction
For many years Israel was governed by the Selucids and Romans. While under the rule of Rome, the people revolted and a great war with the Romans began. After three years of war, under the leadership of Titus, the Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem and sacked the city. On the Ninth day of the month of Av in the year 68 CE the Temple was set ablaze and destroyed This Temple stood for 420 years. The Romans plundered the Temple and led many Jews into exile and commemorated their triumph by building an arch in Rome known to us
as the arch of Titus.
After the destruction, a large number of Jews were permitted to remain in Israel. Approximately 50 years later under the leadership of Bar Kochba the Jews revolted against the Roman rule and established their own government. Another great war with Rome ensued and Bar Kochba used the city of Baitar as his fortress against the Roman legions. On the Ninth of Av, after a long seize, Baitar was sacked and destroyed.
The Christian ruler of Spain, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in their fanatical hatred towards Judaism issued an order of expulsion of all Jews who did not convert to Christianity. This order was executed on the Ninth of Av in the year 1492.
World War I
After the expulsion from Spain, the Jews settled in many areas of Europe. The Jewish population in Eastern Europe grew tremendously.
Europe entered a period of constant wars between nationalities and ethnic groups which finally culminated in the outbreak of WW I, in which the warring factions fought for control of Europe. This war led to the defeat of Germany.
World War II
However, the underlying causes were not resolved and the stage was set for World War II to resolve the conflicts.
Also, the defeat of Germany in WW I led to the rise of Nazism under the leadership of Adolf Hitler (may his name be blotted out) one of the most evil people ever born. He had a fanatical hatred of the Jewish people and his vision of control of Europe necessitated in his mind the extermination of the entire Jewish nation. Today we refer to this as the Holocaust. He was able to kill 6 million Jews in a span of four and a half years, more Jews than had ever been killed in so short a period of time.
The outbreak of WW I which set the stage for WW II and the rise of Hitler and Nazism began of the 9th day of Av.
We keep the Ninth day of Av as a day of remembrance of all the calamities that befell us, and we pray to G-d that He watch over the Jewish people and bring the Messiah and the building of the third and everlasting Temple in Jerusalem.
Tisha B’Av – Sunday August 14, 2016
The Fast begins Saturday evening August 13th at 8:04 p.m. and ends Sunday night August 14th at 8:45 p.m.
(times listed are for the Scranton/Abington areas)
Since the fast begins on Saturday at sundown, the Havdalla which is recited over wine or grape
Juice is not recited until after the fast on Sunday (before eating or drinking). However, a statement of Havdalla is recited either within the night prayers or by saying: “Boruch Hamavdil bein Kodesh L’chol” – Blessed is the One who separates between the holy and mundane. A blessing is recited upon fire on Saturday night, however, the blessing over spices is not recited.
In addition to not eating and drinking, washing/bathing, applying ointments to one’s body, wearing leather footwear and marital relations are also prohibited on Tisha B’Av.
Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning, we therefore sit on a low bench or on the floor until midday Sunday (approx. 1 p.m.)
The Book of Eicha – Lamentations, written by Jerimiah the Prophet, who forewarns the destruction of the Temple if the Jews won’t change their wanton ways, is chanted with a sorrowful tune Saturday night following the night prayers.
After the morning prayers we recite Kinot. Kinot are compositions which describe the destruction of the Temples and its ramifications. Kinot also describe the crusades and other pogroms the Jewish Nation endured throughout history.
Teffilin, which are compared to a crown, are worn during the Mincha – afternoon prayers rather than during the morning prayers.
Our Sages explain that the reason the Jews were no longer worthy of
having the Temple in their midst at the time of the destruction of the
first Temple is because they transgressed the three cardinal sins of
murder, idolatry and adultery.
The reason G-d permitted the Romans to destroy the Second Temple
was because of the lack of unity between Jews. They were prone to
judge others and speak about them negatively.
G-d said, “If peace and unity is lacking among the Jews, they are unworthy of having the Temple – the symbol and embodiment of peace and harmony, in their midst.”
Our efforts to promote unity and peace, particularly through our speech, will certainly cause G-d to look favorably upon us and reinstate the third and everlasting Temple in Jerusalem with the arrival of the Moshiach.
One last thought: The month in which Tisha B’av falls is called Av, which in Hebrew means father. Of all months, should the month that is host to so much tragedy be called Av – father?
Yes, Av is an appropriate name, because it connotes that even though we have accumulated all this iniquity and have been unfaithful for all this time, G-d still eagerly awaits us, as a loving Father awaits his children to reconnect and place our trust in Him. At the appropriate time He will fulfill His promise and rebuild His House.