Friday, August 8, 2008

9th of Av Tisha B'Av

The saddest day on the Jewish calendar.

Known as the Fast of the 9th of Av (Tisha B’Av), the observances of the day are very similar to Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. In addition to fasting (no food or drink) for a 25 hour period from sundown Saturday to nightfall on Sunday, additional restrictions include refraining from washing, using lotions, wearing leather shoes and marital relations.

Aside from the synagogue service, there are two major distinctions between the two days: 1. Work (creative labor) is permitted on Tisha B’Av, and 2. Tisha B’Av’s customs are mourning oriented, while Yom Kippur’s observances have a more joyous tone as we celebrate an anticipated absolution from sin through a demonstrated lack of physical needs. After all, we are compared to non-physical angels (which is also why we wear white) on Yom Kippur.

Like the 17th of Tammuz, there are five events commemorated on Tisha B'Av (Mishnah Ta’anit 4:6).

1. God’s decree that the Israelites would wander in the wilderness for 40 years.

2. The First Temple was destroyed.

3. The Second Temple was destroyed.

4. The Bar Kokhba revolt ended with the Romans destroying the city of Betar.

5. The city of Jerusalem was plowed over by Turnus Rufus, a Roman general.

See here for a brief overview of the day

See here for explanations of the observances

See here for later events on this date

See here for a more elaborate overview of the day

See here for Wikipedia’s general overview

Copyright © 2008 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

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