Bitterly she weeps in the night, Her cheek wet with tears. There is none to comfort her Of all her friends. All her allies have betrayed her; They have become her foes. Lamentations 1:2 (The Israel Bible™)
בָּכוֹ תִבְכֶּה בַּלַּיְלָה וְדִמְעָתָהּ עַל לֶחֱיָהּ אֵין־לָהּ מְנַחֵם מִכָּל־אֹהֲבֶיהָ כָּל־רֵעֶיהָ בָּגְדוּ בָהּ הָיוּ לָהּ לְאֹיְבִים Hear the verse in Hebrew
ba-KHO tiv-KEH ba-LAI-lah v’-dim-a-TAH AL le-khe-YAH ayn LAH m’-na-KHAYM mi-kol o-ha-VE-ha kol ray-E-ha BA-g’-du VAH ha-YU LAH l’-o-y’-VEEM
Today is the Fast of Tisha B'Av
Today is the Fast of Tisha B'Av. Once a year, on this day, the Jewish People mourn the destruction of the first and second Temples in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). The fact that the temple is no longer in existence means that God's presence is more distant from us that it used to be. For more than twenty-four hours it is forbidden to eat or drink; Jews sit on the floor as an expression of mourning, and recall the events surrounding the destruction by reciting the Book of Lamentation and other prayers of lament. The Book of Lamentations is the text that best expresses out broken hearts as we call out again and again, 'alas' or 'how did this happen?'
We pray for our friends the Jews around the world, as they fast and pray on the 9th of Av. May they see the One whom they seek, their Messiah, HaMashiach.
He has a name, Yeshua HaMashiach, and He is coming back again, as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, to save His people Y'Israel.
Love For His People, Inc.
Charlotte, North Carolina
1 A prophecy, the word of ADONAI concerning Isra'el - here is the message from ADONAI, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth and formed the spirit inside human beings:2"I will make Yerushalayim a cup that will stagger the surrounding peoples. Even Y'hudah will be caught up in the siege against Yerushalayim. 3 When that day comes, I will make Yerushalayim a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who try to lift it will hurt themselves, and all the earth's nations will be massed against her. 4When that day comes," says ADONAI, "I will strike all the horses with panic and their riders with madness; I will keep watch over Y'hudah, but I will strike blind all the horses of the peoples.
5 The leaders of Y'hudah will say to themselves, 'Those living in Yerushalayim are my strength through ADONAI-Tzva'ot their God.'
6 When that day comes, I will make the leaders of Y'hudah like a blazing fire pan in a pile of wood, like a fiery torch among sheaves of grain; they will devour all the surrounding peoples, on the right and on the left. Yerushalayim will be inhabited in her own place, Yerushalayim.
7ADONAI will save the tents of Y'hudah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of those living in Yerushalayim will not appear greater than that of Y'hudah.
8 When that day comes, ADONAI will defend those living in Yerushalayim. On that day, even someone who stumbles will be like David; and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of ADONAI before them.
9 "When that day comes, I will seek to destroy all nations attacking Yerushalayim;
10 and I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced." They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son; they will be in bitterness on his behalf like the bitterness for a firstborn son.
11 When that day comes, there will be great mourning in Yerushalayim, mourning like that for Hadad-Rimmon in the Megiddo Valley.
12 Then the land will mourn, each family by itself - the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Natan by itself, and their wives by themselves;
13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shim'i by itself, and their wives by themselves;
14 all the remaining families, each by itself, and their wives by themselves.
According to Rabbinic tradition (as seen in the Mishnah Taanit 4:6), the sin of the Ten Spies (besides Joshua and Caleb) produced the annual fast day of Tisha B'Av. When the Israelites accepted the false report that the land of Canaan (Israel) would be "impossible" to conquer, the people wept over the false belief that God was setting them up for defeat. The night that the people cried was the ninth of Av, which became a day of weeping and misfortune for all time.
In connection with the fall of Jerusalem, three other fast-days were established at the same time as the Ninth Day of Av: these were the Tenth of Tevet, when the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians began; the Seventeenth of Tammuz, when the first breach was made in the wall by the Babylonians; and the Third of Tishrei, known as the Fast of Gedaliah, the day when Gedaliah was assassinated in the time of the Babylonians following the destruction of the First Temple. The three weeks leading up to Tisha B'Av are known as The Three Weeks, while the nine days leading up to Tisha B'Av are known as The Nine Days.
According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), five specific events occurred on the ninth of Av that warrant fasting:
The Twelve Spies sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan returned from their mission. Only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, brought a positive report, while the others spoke disparagingly about the land. The majority report caused the Children of Israel to cry, panic and despair of ever entering the "Promised Land". For this, they were punished by God that their generation would not enter the land. Because of the Israelites' lack of faith, God decreed that for all generations this date would become a day of crying and misfortune for their descendants. (See Numbers 13; Numbers 14).
Over time, Tisha B'Av has come to be a Jewish day of mourning, not only for these events, but also for later tragedies. Regardless of the exact dates of these events, for many Jews, Tisha B'Av is the designated day of mourning for them, and these themes are reflected in liturgy composed for this day (see below).
Germany entered World War I on August 1–2, 1914 (Av 9–10, AM 5674), which caused massive upheaval in European Jewry and whose aftermath led to the Holocaust.
On August 2, 1941 (Av 9, AM 5701), SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for "The Final Solution." As a result, the Holocaust began during which almost one third of the world's Jewish population perished.
On July 23, 1942 (Av 9, AM 5702), began the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.
Most religious communities use Tisha B'Av to mourn the 6,000,000 Jews who perished in the Holocaust, including special kinnot composed for this purpose (see the main kinnotarticle) (in addition to, or instead of, the secular Holocaust Memorial Days.)
On the 10th of Av the following events took place:
AMIA bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 and injuring 300 on 18 July 1994; 10 Av, AM 5754.
Tisha B'Av falls in July or August in the Western calendar. When Tisha B'Av falls on the Shabbat (Saturday) it then is known as a nidche ("delayed") in Hebrew and the observance of Tisha B'Av then takes place on the following day that is Sunday. No outward signs of mourning intrude upon the normal Sabbath, although normal Sabbath eating and drinking end at sunset Saturday evening, rather than nightfall. The fast lasts about 25 hours, beginning at sunset on the preceding evening lasting until nightfall the next day. In addition to fasting, other pleasurable activities are also forbidden.
Tisha B'Av bears a similar stringent nature to that of Yom Kippur. In addition to the length of the fast which lasts about 25 hours, beginning at sunset on the eve of Tisha B'Av and ends at nightfall the following day, Tisha B'Av also shares the following five prohibitions:
No eating or drinking;
No washing or bathing;
No application of creams or oils;
No wearing of (leather) shoes;
No marital (sexual) relations.
These restrictions are waived in the case of health issues but a competent Posek, a rabbi who decides Jewish Law, must be consulted. For example, those who are seriously ill will be allowed to eat and drink. On other fast days almost any medical condition may justify breaking the fast; in practice, since many cases differ, consultation with a rabbi is often necessary. Ritual washing up to the knuckles is permitted. Washing to cleanse dirt or mud from one's body is also permitted.
Torah study is forbidden on Tisha B'Av (as it is considered a spiritually enjoyable activity), except for the study of distressing texts such as the Book of Lamentations, the Book of Job, portions of Jeremiah and chapters of the Talmud that discuss the laws of mourning.
In synagogue, prior to the commencement of the evening services, the parochet is removed or drawn aside lasting until after the fast. The parochet is the "curtain" or "screen" that normally covers and adorns the Aron Kodesh ("Torah Ark") containing the Sifrei Torah ("Torah scrolls").
According to the Rema it is customary to sit on low stools or on the floor, as is done during shiva, from the meal immediately before the fast, the seudah hamafseket, until midday (chatztot hayom). It is customary to eat a hard boiled egg, and a piece of bread dipped into ashes during this meal. The Beit Yosef rules that the custom to sit low to the ground extends until one prays Mincha (the afternoon prayer).
If possible, work is avoided during this period. Electric lighting may be turned off or dimmed, and kinnot recited by candlelight. Some sleep on the floor or modify their normal sleeping routine, by sleeping without a pillow, for instance. People refrain from greeting each other or sending gifts on this day. Old prayer-books and Torah scrolls are often buried on this day.
The custom is to not put on tefilin for morning services (Shacharit) of Tisha be-Av, and not a talit, rather only wear the personal talit kattan without a blessing. At Mincha services tzitzit and tefilin are worn, with proper blessings prior to donning them.
Although the fast ends at nightfall, according to tradition, the First Temple continued burning throughout the night and for most of the following day, the tenth of Av. It is therefore customary to refrain from eating meat, drinking wine, bathing, cutting hair, doing laundry, listening to music, making a shehechiyanu blessing until midday (chatzos) of the following day.
When Tisha B'Av begins on Saturday night, the Havdalah ritual at the end of Shabbat is truncated (using a candle but no spices), without a blessing over wine. After Tisha B'Av ends on Sunday evening, another Havdalah ceremony is performed with wine (without candle or spices).
The laws of Tisha B'Av are recorded in the Shulchan Aruch (Literally "The Set Table", a code of Jewish Law") Orach Chayim 552–557.
"Console, O Lord, the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and the city laid waste, despised and desolate. In mourning for she is childless, her dwellings laid waste, despised in the downfall of her glory and desolate through the loss of her inhabitants…. Legions have devoured her, worshippers of strange gods have possessed her. They have put the people of Israel to the sword… Therefore let Zion weep bitterly and Jerusalem give forth her voice… For You, O Lord, did consume her with fire and with fire will You in future restore her… Blessed are You, O Lord, Who consoles Zion and builds Jerusalem."
A paragraph that begins Nahem ("Console...") is added to the conclusion of the blessing Boneh Yerushalayim ("Who builds Jerusalem") recited during the Amidah (for Ashkenazim, only at the Mincha service). The prayer elaborates the mournful state of the Temple in Jerusalem. The concluding signature of the blessing is also extended to say "Blessed are You, O Lord, Who consoles Zion and builds Jerusalem." Various modern orthodox rabbis and Conservative rabbis have proposed amending Nachem as its wording no longer reflects the existence of a rebuilt Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, for example, issued a revised wording of the prayer and Rabbi Hayim David HaLevi proposed putting the prayer's verbs relating to the Temple's destruction into the past tense. However, such proposals have not been widely adopted.
In the long period which is reflected in Talmudic literature the observance of the Ninth Day of Av assumed a character of constantly growing sadness and asceticism. By the end of the 2nd century or at the beginning of the 3rd, the observance of the day had lost much of its gloom. Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi was in favor of abolishing it altogether or, according to another version, of lessening its severity when the fast had been postponed from Saturday to Sunday (Talmud, Tractate Megillah 5b).
The growing strictness in the observance of mourning customs in connection with the Ninth Day of Av became pronounced in post-Talmudic times, and particularly in one of the darkest periods of Jewish history, from the 15th century to the 18th.
Maimonides (12th century), in his Mishneh Torah, says that the restrictions as to the eating of meat and the drinking of wine refer only to the last meal before fasting on the Eighth Day of Av, if taken after noon, but before noon anything may be eaten (Hilchoth Ta'anith 5:8). Rabbi Moses of Coucy (13th century) wrote that it is the universal custom to refrain from meat and wine during the whole day preceding the Ninth of Av (Sefer Mitzvoth ha-Gadol, Venice ed, Laws of Tishah B'Av, 249b). Rabbi Joseph Caro (16th century) says some are accustomed to abstain from meat and wine from the beginning of the week in which the Ninth Day of Av falls; and still others abstain throughout the three weeks from the Seventeenth of Tammuz (Shulkhan Arukh, Orach Chayim 551).
A gradual extension of prohibitions can be traced in the abstention from marrying at this season and in other signs of mourning. So Rabbi Moses of Coucy says that some do not use the tefillin ("phylacteries") on the Ninth Day of Av, a custom which later was universally observed (it is now postponed until the afternoon). In this manner all customs originally designated as marks of unusual piety finally became the rule for all.
In Israel, restaurants and places of entertainment are closed on the eve of Tisha B'Av and the following day by law. Establishments that break the law are subject to fines. Outside of Israel, the day is not observed by most secular Jews, as opposed to Yom Kippur, on which many secular Jews fast and go to synagogue. According to halakha, combat soldiers are absolved of fasting on Tisha B'Av on the basis that it can endanger their lives. The latest example of such a ruling was issued during Operation Protective Edge by Israel's Chief Rabbis: Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef.
A 2010 poll in Israel revealed that some 22% of Israeli Jews fast on Tisha B'Av, and 52% said they forego recreational activity on this day even though they do not fast. Another 18% of Israeli Jews responded that were recreational spots permissible to be open they would go out on the eve of the fast day, and labeled the current legal status "religious coercion". The last 8% declined to answer.
In relation to the creation of the State of Israel
As the main focus of the day recalls the destruction of the First and Second Temples and the subsequent scattering of the Jewish people into exile, the modern day re-establishment of a Jewish state in the Holy Land has raised various attitudes within Judaism as to whether Tisha B'Av still has significance or not among secular Israelis, while no segment of Orthodox Jews accept this point of view that they regard as "anti-religious".
Following the Six Day War, the national religious community viewed Israel’s territorial conquests with almost messianic overtones. The conquest of geographical areas with immense religious significance, including Jerusalem, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount was seen as portentous; however only the full rebuilding of the Temple would engender enough reason to cease observing the day as one of mourning and transform it into a day of joy instead.
Classical Jewish sources maintain that the Jewish Messiah will be born on Tisha B'Av, though many explain this idea metaphorically, as the hope for the Jewish Messiah was born on Tisha B'Av with the destruction of the Temple.