Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'Av is a Jewish day of mourning, the culmination of The Three Weeks and The Nine Days-- the day that the both the First and Second Temples were destroyed (the First by Vevuchadnezzar in 423 BCE, and the Second in 70 CE by the Romans). But it's more than that-- Tisha B'Av is a VERY BAD DAY for the Jewish people. This is also the day that the Jews in the desert accepted the negative report about Eretz Yisrael from the meraglim (the spies); The Bar Kochva revolt was crushed by Hadrian (Roman Emperor), and Betar (city of the Jews "last stand") was captured and liquidated in 135 CE; the Beit Hamikdash and the area around it were razed by Turnus Rufus, and Jerusam was rebuilt as a pagan city and Jews were not allowed in; The Jews were expelled from Spain during the Inquisition on 1492; WWI broke out in 1941 on Erev Tisha B'Av (the eve of Tisha B'Av); The mass deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka began on Tisha B'Av in 1942.

There are a lot of differences between Tisha B'Av and every other day. For starters, the two "big" fasts in the Jewish calendar are Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av-- there are a lot of superficial prohibitions, but they are very, very different days. Tisha B'Av is a day of mourning, so in addition to fasting, we refrain from doing things similar to one who is in mourning. We sit on low chairs, we do not anointing for pleasure (for example, putting on perfume to smell good); washing (other than for hygiene purposes), having marital relations, wearing leather shoes, learning Torah (other than Tisha B'Av and mourning-related topics). There are more, but this is not, not is it meant to be, a halacha blog or entry. Go to Aish.com here or to OU.org here to learn more about the halachot (laws) and customs and practices of Tisha B'Av.

I'm trying to figure out how to actually mourn for the Beit Hamikdash. I don't know if I'm doing it right, I don't really know how I feel and...what...everything about it. I've never experienced the Beit Hamikdash, but I've been to the Kotel. I wish I was there now. I also wish I could cry about it. I feel like I want to, but I'm not, I don't feel...comfortable crying here. I think I need to be at the Kotel and in Israel for this one. My first Tisha B'av in Israel and I'm in New York.

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