by Charlotte Machado

The nine days leading up to Tisha B’Av are a time of intensive mourning for observant Jews. Tisha B’Av is remembered as the most tragic day in Jewish history. It falls on July16 this year. On this day, the first and second temples in Jerusalem were destroyed (586 BCE and 70 AD). On the 9th of Av 1096 AD, the first crusade officially commenced. During Tisha B’Av 1290 AD, the Jews were expelled from England. The Jews were expelled from France during Tisha B’Av 1306 AD. The expulsion of Spanish Jews took place during Tisha B’Av 1492 AD. During Tisha B’Av 1941, Heinrich Himmler, chief commander of the SS, received approval from Hitler to implement the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.” By Tisha B’Av a year later, the systematic deportation of Jews to concentration camps in newly occupied Poland was in full swing. 1 Jewish communities all over the world remember with sorrow the genocide of two-thirds of European Jewry during the Holocaust, and tragedies throughout history that our people have endured.

Remembering is commemorative but it can also be imaginative. We picture and re-create events that we did not experience or see. How do we remember? How close is the memory of our injuries? We have relatives who were victims of the Holocaust and the events of the early 20th century—and today our wounds are both numb and raw.

 Tisha B’Av is also a day to remember the resilience of our people. We will continue to be an people until the end of days because our God is faithful, and true to the everlasting covenant He made with Abraham and his children in Genesis 17.2 We are still here, alive despite every weapon forged against us, regardless of every plan to annihilate us. Ferdinand and Isabella, King Edward I, Haman, Pharaoh, Hitler, Himmler and all the haters throughout history are no longer here, and we remain! We breathe they are lifeless! A Holocaust survivor recently told me that in the spring of 1945, after the liberation there were abundant Jewish weddings. Those who survived chose life over death. Celebrating life was their triumph over Hitler. The same survivor told me that at his brother’s wedding they danced all night and into the morning, crying tears of sorrow and joy.

Things the nations did to harm us were used for good. The expulsions, while awful, made Jews in the Middle Ages multilingual and knowledgeable about different cultures. Their travels and multilingualism caused Jews to become expert merchants, traders, translators, doctors, scholars, and professionals. We have always enriched the economy and livelihood of our host nations, often with the very same means that was meant to harm and disenfranchise.

While there is no Jewish crisis this year on Tisha B’Av, there is a pandemic of broken faith, selfishness, narcissism, greed, disorder, disillusionment, climate change, energy crisis, global food insecurity, economic turmoil, and war. People are thirsting for the Messiah, even if they don’t know it.

As I remember past events of Tisha B’Av with a heavy heart, I have hope in Yeshua. As a Jewish believer in Yeshua, I have taken a leap of faith and gone against history and tradition, trusting that he is the promised messiah who has come to bring peace. Accepting his atoning sacrifice for sin I have peace with God. Yeshua’s crucifixion did not occur on Tisha B’Av perhaps because it was followed three days later with his resurrection.  Instead of it being a tragedy, it became the means by which we could find new life and forgiveness from sin. Want to discuss this further? Please comment below!

End Notes:

1) “The Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students.” The Final Solution” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 10 June 2013. Web. 01 July 13
These concentration camps included Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdenek.

2) Genesis 17:7 “And I will establish my covenant between and you and your descendant after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your descendants after you.” Revised Standard Version, The Oxford Annotated Bible, Oxford University University Press 1973