Tisha B’Av. The Saddest day on the Jewish Calendar
The ninth (tisha) of the Jewish month of Av
CORRESPONDING DATE IN 2008 GREGORIAN CALENDAR:
August 10 (begins sundown, August 9)
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.
- 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
- 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:
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.
Scholar in Residence, Missionary
Rich Robinson is a veteran missionary and senior researcher at the San Francisco headquarters of Jews for Jesus. Rich has written several books on Jewishness and Jesus, and he received his Ph.D. in biblical studies and hermeneutics from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1993.