Tisha B’Av, or the ninth day of the month of Av, is one of five fast days in the Jewish calendar. Why do we fast on this day?
- On this day, the First Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C.E.
- The Second Temple was destroyed years later on the Ninth of Av in 70 C.E.
- The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 on the Ninth of Av.
- Many believe that the Spanish Inquisition, a time when Jews of Spain had to convert to Catholicism or leave, began on the Ninth of Av.
It is a sad, mournful day as we remember the destruction of the Second Temple, the center of Judaism. The Second Temple was everything to Judaism. It was where young mothers presented their eight day sons. The Temple was where Jews came to make sacrifices. It was where Jews from around the world came to three times a year for pilgrimage holidays- Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot. And now, it was gone.
How could the Jews move on? What does Judaism mean now? It will take many years and many great leaders in order to reach a new, organized faith.
What about Tisha B’Av today?
But almost 2,000 years later, we still remember the destruction of the important Temple, the one time center of Judaism. We refrain from food and water, we don’t wear leather, and we spend the day thinking about the events that occurred on Tisha B’Av.
Some Jews say that these events occurred because of baseless hatred. People behaved badly toward one another. And because people were so busy mistreating each other, they weren’t looking to the societal tides that led to the controlling Romans destroying the Second Temple.
Today, I ask all of you to be aware of how we treat people—both those we know and those we do not. We must stop mistreating, bullying, snickering, judging, and yelling at one another. Instead, we must start helping each other, smiling, explaining ourselves, and looking to understand one another. Open up your hearts, ears, and minds to others. Because if we do not, if we continue to yell, judge, and bully each other, we will not see other events that are coming down the road.
On the day we remember destruction, I encourage everyone to think about how we can stop hatred, and start understanding.