Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av falls on July 30th this year. It is a day of fasting and mourning. Very few events in our history are considered to be such a powerful memory to the Jewish people as this day represents. The Holocaust of course, is another one.
Officially it marks several calamities in our history including the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians as well as the destruction of the second Temple by the Romans (who went as far as plowing the entire Temple area.) This day also marks the expulsion from Spain in 1492 as well as the Jewish expulsion from England in 1290.
Tradition has it that on the ninth day of Av the spies who were sent by Moses to tour the land of Canaan when the Israelites were about to enter it, returned from their journey to deliver a negative report about the country and its people. As a result, the people dipped into fear wanting to return to slavery in Egypt. To enable them to mature to a state of trust, of accepting and navigating freedom, G-d had the people wander in the desert for another 40 years.
Tisha B’Av is therefore a day when Jews gather in synagogues all over the world to recite the scroll of “Eicha,” Lamentations, a text of mourning believed to be written by Prophet Jeremiah who actually witnessed the first Temple’s destruction.
The Ninth of Av is not an easy day as we remember Jewish suffering throughout our history. But it also represents an amazing truth. It is a symbol of our eternity. Remembering the day we lost our independence in the land of Israel also brought the Tikvah, the Hope for the Jewish redemption. That hope was burning in our great, great grandparents’ hearts. It is that two thousand year old hope which held us together and eventually helped us to reestablish our independent life in modern Israel.
So if we now have Israel, a proud, very prosperous and independent Jewish state why keep mourning on the ninth day of Av?
The message of that day is not only a message of Jewish survival. It is also a message of world peace and harmony. The great rabbis of the Talmud taught that when the world lives in peace, when there will be no hate, when antisemitism and bigotry vanish from the world, then Tisha B’Av will turn from a day of mourning to a day of celebration.
This year, as we observe Tisha B’Av may we use the powerful energy of the day to offer a special prayer to the creator, G-D of all mankind, to help us put an end to the awful pandemic that is ravaging the entire world. Let us all pray for Israel’s and the world’s safety and peace. Let us pray for all the turmoil and divisiveness we are experiencing here in the US to end and ask for peace to be restored in all the cities across the nation. Let us pray that we each find compassion and tolerance within our own hearts. For only then can G-d truly help us.
Please Give a Donation
Rabbi & Cantor's Messages
Infinite Child Institute