Congregation Beth Adonai
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Tish B’Av

Ninth of Av

Tisha B’Av, the ninth day in the Hebrew month of Av, usually July or August marks a day of tragedy, sadness, and fasting for the Jewish people.  On this same day in history a series of calamities are linked in a supernatural way, beyond the realm of coincidence:

1.  Traditionally, this is the day the spies sent out by Moses to explore Canaan returned with a false report, believed by the people in spite of the exhortation of Joshua and Caleb.  For this they were punished by wandering forty years in the wilderness.  However, the rabbis predicted in the Talmud that for crying over the false report, the Jewish people would cry on that day for generations to come.

2.  In 586 BCE the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, led by Nebechadnezzar.  100,000 Jews perished, and millions were exiled.

3.  On the same day 656 years later, in 70 CE the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, led by Titus.  Again many Jews died and were exiled.

4.  65 years later, in 135 CE, the Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian.  The fortress of Betar, a Jewish stronghold, was liquidated and over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered.

5.  The Temple area and its surroundings were plowed under by the Roman general Turnus Rufus.  Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city named Aelia Capitolina, and access was forbidden to Jews.

6.  Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade.  Tens of thousands of Jews were killed, and many Jewish communities were obliterated.

7.  In 1290 this day marked the first nation-wide rejection of Jews when the official decree expelling them from England was signed.

8.  On the same date in 1492 one of the greatest upheavals in Jewish history occurred when the large Jewish community in Spain was expelled.

9.  Jews were first ordered into a ghetto on this date in 1555 when the Jews of Rome were ordered to live in a district near the Tiber.

10.  W.W.I broke out on Tisha B’Av in 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia.  German resentment from the war set the stage for the Holocaust.

11.  In 1941 on the same day Reinhard Heydrich was ordered to carry out the “final solution” for European Jewry.

Not all the calamities for the Jews occurred on this day, for history records too many for an entire month of Tisha B’Avs.  The important thing to remember on this day is not man’s inhumanity to Jewish people, but that God has preserved His people in spite of the best attempts of Ha Satan.

This day is mentioned in scripture:

Zechariah 8:19

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”

The month of Av is the fifth month, and even in the days of Zechariah it was known as a fast.  The megillah traditionally read on this day is Lamentations.  It is appropriate on this day of sad memories to recall God’s enduring love and faithfulness, giving us hope in any of the Tisha B’Avs we may face in our personal lives…

Lamentations 3:21-26

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

[22] Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  [23] They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  [24] I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” [25] The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;  [26] it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Yeshua is our hope and our salvation!