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MEANING:

The ninth (tisha) of the Jewish month of Av

CORRESPONDING DATE IN 2008 GREGORIAN CALENDAR:

August 10 (begins sundown, August 9)

MEMORIALIZES:

The destruction of the First and Second Temples in 586 B.C. and 70 A.D. which, according to Jewish tradition, occurred on this date.

OTHER TRAGEDIES TRADITIONALLY ASSOCIATED WITH TISHA B’AV:

Unknown date: This is believed to be the day that God decreed that the generation that left Egypt could not enter the Promised Land.

  • 135 A.D.: The town of Bethar, where the last holdouts from the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome resided, was captured.
  • 136 A.D.: Jerusalem utterly destroyed by Rome
  • 1492: Expulsion from Spain —the last date for all Jews to leave the country
  • 1914: World War I began, considered by some to be the start of events that ultimately led to the Holocaust
  • 1942: first deportations from Warsaw to Treblinka concentration camp during the Holocaust.

CUSTOMS:

Abstinence from:

  • Food and drink
  • Bathing, shaving, use of perfumes, aftershave, etc.
  • Wearing leather shoes
  • Marital relations
  • Bible study except for “mourning” texts such as Lamentations or Job

SYNAGOGUE RITUALS:

  • Evening service (which begins the day): Book of Lamentations read
  • Morning service: Reading of kinot, liturgical poetry concerning suffering, many of medieval origin; many Sephardim also read the Book of Job

IN THE ARTS:

  • In the Third Movement of Leonard Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony, portions
    of Lamentations are sung to the synagogue melody traditionally used on Tisha B’Av.
  • Adolf Abraham Berman’s oil painting Tisha B’Av.

ADDITIONAL ONLINE INFORMATION:

Explanation on YouTube by Rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg

CONNECTION TO MESSIAH:

According to one tradition, the Messiah will be born on Tisha B’Av—as if to say that God’s deliverance will turn a traditional day of mourning into a cause for rejoicing.