The fast day of Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av, is an annual day of mourning marking the destruction of the Second Temple. Over time, Tisha B’Av became the central day of mourning on the Jewish calendar. Later generations layered their tragedies onto it. Associations grew to include not only the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, but also the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE, the final crushing of the Bar Kochba rebellion against Roman rule in the Land of Israel in 135 CE, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and the Chmielnicki pogroms of 1648 in the Ukraine. Each of these events was of historical importance, and each involved enormous suffering and death for Jews. Traditionally Eykha, the Book of Lamentations found in the Bible, is chanted on Tisha B’Av. It records the horrors inflicted on the Israelites in 586 BCE, when the Babylonians conquered the land and destroyed the First Temple.1
1. Adapted from A Guide to Jewish Practice, Volume 2—Shabbat and Holidays. The Guide may be ordered from the Reconstructionist Press.
Embracing Our Sorrows
As the mournful day of Tisha B'Av arrives, Rabbi Jacob Staub reflects on the value of embracing our sorrows rather than pushing them aside.
On the Shabbat after Tisha B’Av we read the first hafatarah of comfort. Despite its troubling theology, its message of hope and reconciliation is a powerful first step toward Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.