Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tisha B'Av, Saturday-Sunday: A Mourning Period to Fast and Remember the Temple Mount

Nadene Goldfoot
The 9th of Av, which falls on this coming Saturday, the 28th of July, our forefathers had just left Egypt and its pharoah,  and on this date G-d punished that generation, decreeing that they would wander the desert for 40 years and never enter into the Holy land. It was due to their lack of faith that 10 of their 12  spies had displayed and had started crying and bewailing going into Canaan that they all were decreed to suffer on this date which would become one of crying and misfortune.

Orthodox Jews  remember the fall of our First Temple in 422-586 BCE. in the month of Tammus, which is in today's July.    After years of siege, the walls of Jerusalem were breached, but the Jewish forces continued to defend the Temple Mount for another 19 days until it fell on the 7th of the month of Av, which is today.  The Holy Temple, called the Beit Ha Mikdash, was torched late on the 9th.  

The Second Temple also fell in 68-70 CE from the Romans at that same time.

 For a 3 week period, we had nothing but a bad time during which the Jewish people suffered many calamities..  Bar Kokhba had fallen on the 9th of Av.  He had held out against the Romans in his revolt till 135 CE after Jerusalem had fallen.  The city of Betar fell and 100,000 Jews were killed.  Then Jerusalem was plowed at the site of the Temple by the Roman commander, Rufus.  The First Crusade of 1096 happened on the 9th of Av.  10,000 Jews were killed in that.  In 1290 the Jews of England were expelled on this date.  Jews were given the Alhambra Decree in Spain in 1492.  This eerily fell on the 9th of Av as well, which was the day all Jews had to be out of Spain. World War I began on the 9th of Av. The Warsaw Ghetto Jews in 1942 were deported, starting on this date which then was on July 23.  They were sent to Treblinka.    
We remember our history by recalling this event with a fast, being it was the saddest experience. However, in Israel combat soldiers are absolved of fasting on Tisha B'Av on the basis that it can endanger their lives. Restaurants there will be closed on the 9th and the 10th of Av.  The same goes for people who are sick.  They are not expected to fast.  Here in Portland, fasting will start at 8:43pm Saturday night and end at 9:18pm Sunday night.  The person cannot eat or drink.

The 9th of Av can happen anytime in July or August, being it is figured on a lunar calendar.  Man seems to lose his temper easily during these hot months.   The holiday is really to remember the two Temples that fell 655 years apart by two different enemies, but noticably, all these other calamities have happened at the same time as well.

Not all Jews will observe this day, but one must remember that it has been remembered by those who have done the observing for over 3,000 years.  This is how we manage to remember such historic events and continue our religious beliefs.  It's how some of us manage to know more than Jay Leno's participants on his Jay-walk when they are asked very simple questions, usually about some American piece of history.  Remember, they can't tell you something that happened only a few years ago, while we have maintained historical events thousands of years ago that were important to us.  Those who manage to observe and teach their children about these events in this way are to be greatly admired.  To them, all of our life is a big deal, and they are an important part of it.

Reference: Chabad of Oregon calendar'Av


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  7. For over 2000 years the Jewish people have been mourning the destruction of the Holy Temple. At every festive occasion its loss is remembered. No wedding takes places without the symbolic broken glass. Ashes of mourning are placed upon the forehead of the groom and a section of a new home is left unpainted or unfinished, all in remembrance of the Destruction and the Exile from Zion. One might ask, “Why are they still crying after 2000 years?” Why can’t they get over it and move on? Why? Because there was never any closure, no burial. Why? Because the Temple’s bricks and stone have been destroyed, but the Divine Promise still stands, the Temple will be rebuilt and until that day Zion will never be forgotten.
    One August day (it was on Tisha b’Av, the 9th day of the month of Av, the day that marks the destruction of both the First and Second Temple) Napoleon was walking along a street when he stopped in front of a synagogue. He heard crying from within. “What are those Jews doing?” He asked the soldier at his side. “They are mourning over the destruction of their Temple.”
    “When did that happen?”
    “Around 2000 years ago.”
    “They are still crying after 2000 years? A nation that mourns so long will never cease. They will surely return to their land and see the rebuilding of their Temple.”
    What was is that Napoleon saw that gave him the confidence to make such a statement? He understood that the connection between the People and the Place is intrinsic. One cannot live without the other. Just as the Jewish People is alive, so too is Zion. A nation that will not allow itself to forget will also not allow itself to let go or give up.
    The Jews are still crying after 2000 years because they realize the greatness of what was lost and they long for its return like a father who knows his child is missing, but who is not dead. They also cry in anticipation as they see the in gathering of the exiles and wait for when Zion will be restored to its former state and the Temple will be rebuilt. (From United With Israel.)

  8. from Victor Sharpe: “…it is already three years that I am calling upon you, Polish Jewry, who are the crown of world Jewry.
    I continue to warn you incessantly that a catastrophe is coming closer.
    I became grey and old in these years.
    My heart bleeds, that you, dear brothers and sisters, do not see the volcano which will soon begin to spit its all-consuming lava.
    I see that you are not seeing this because you are immersed and sunk in your daily worries.
    Today, however, I demand from you trust. You were convinced already that my prognoses have already proven to be right. If you think differently, then drive me out of your midst! However, if you do believe me, then listen to me in this 12th hour:
    In the name of God! Let anyone of you save himself as long as there is still time. And time there is very little…and what else I would like to say to you in this day of Tisha B’Av

  9. The warning above: A PROPHETIC WARNING - Ze’ev Jabotinsky – Warsaw, Tisha B’Av 1938