Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, starts sundown August 8th on the Gregorian Calendar.
Tisha B’Av is a rememberance of the almost unbelievable string of disastrous occurrences that have plagued the Jewish people:
- Over 3000 years ago, Jewish scribes tell us on the 9th day of the 5th month, the false report of 10 of the 12 scouts Moses sent to the Promised Land, as described in the book of Numbers in the Jewish and Christian bibles, brought such bad reports to the people that it caused them to say, "We would rather die in this desert than live in the Promised Land!" Because of this, Israel's taking of the God-given land was put off for an entire generation, and they instead wandered in the desert. What was originally a Promised-Land-bound 11 day journey from Egypt to Canaan turned into a 40 year wandering through the desert.
- In 586 BC, on the 9th day of the 5th month, God's house in Jerusalem, which had stood for over 400 years and was built by King Solomon, was destroyed by the Babylonian Empire. The book of Jeremiah in the Jewish and Christian bibles was written during this time, and Jeremiah attests to the destruction.
- In 70 AD, on the 9th day of the 5th month, about 30 years after Messiah's death, the 2nd Temple was destroyed by the Roman Emperor Titus. The Arch of Titus in Rome, which stands to this day, depicts Roman soldiers carrying off relics of the Temple, including the Menorah, trumpets, and the Table of Showbread.
Jewish historian Josephus recorded the destruction of the 2nd Temple:
These Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched some what out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered anything to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing . . . thus it was the holy house burnt down . . . Nor can one imagine any thing greater or more terrible than this noise; for there was at once a shout of the Roman Legions, who were marching all together, and a sad clamor of the seditious, who were now surrounded with fire and sword.
The people under a great consternation, made sad moans at the calamity they were under. Yet was the misery itself more terrible than this disorder; for one would have thought that the hill itself, on which the Temple stood, was seething hot, as full of fire on every part of it.
To give a detailed account of their outrageous conduct is impossible, but we may sum it up by saying that no other city has ever endured such horrors, and no generation in history has fathered such wickedness. In the end they brought the whole Hebrew race into contempt in order to make their own impiety seem less outrageous in foreign eyes, and confessed the painful truth that they were slaves, the dregs of humanity, bastards, and outcasts of their nation.
It is certain that when from the upper city they watched the Temple burning they did not turn a hair, though many Romans were moved to tears.”
- In 132 AD, on the 9th day of the 5th month, after 2 years of a successful Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire, the Roman Emperor Hadrian finally crushed the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire, killing 10,000 Jews, banned the Torah, prohibited use of the Hebrew calendar, executed Judaic scholars, burned scrolls on the Temple Mount, and installed statues of the Roman god Jupiter and another of himself in the former Temple sanctuary. He wiped the memory of Israel and Judah from the map by renaming Judea to Palestine, after the Philistines, ancient enemies of Israel.
- In 133 AD, on the 9th day of the 5th month, the Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed the former site of the Temple and surrounding area in an attempt to erase Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
- In 1095 AD, on the 9th day of the 5th month, the First Crusade was announced by Pope Urban II, resulting in 10,000 Jewish deaths.
- In 1290 AD, on the 9th day of the 5th month, Jews were expelled from England.
- In 1492 AD, King Ferdinand of Spain decreed that all Jews in his kingdom, including Castile, Catalonia, Aragon, Galicia, Majorca, Minorca, the Basque provinces, the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, and the kingdom of Valencia were to be expelled. King Ferdinand gave Jews 3 months to leave, and according to an Italian Jew, the last day for Jews to leave was the 8th day of the 5th month. If any Jew remained by the 9th day of the 5th month, his property and possessions could be confiscated and he would have to pay a hefty sum to the king.
- In August of 1914, the 9th day of the 5th month, World War I broke out.
- In July of 1941, on the 9th day of the 5th month, Nazi politician and leader of the German SS during World War II, Heinrich Himler presented his Die Endlösung ("Final Solution") plan to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, which called for the systematic destruction of the Jewish people.
- In July of 1942, on eve of the 9th day of the 5th month, Himler's Final Solution to the Jewish problem was formally implemented, and the systematic deportation of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto began. The Final Solution resulted in the last and most deadly section of the Holocaust, which saw the murder of 6 million Jews.
- In July of 1994, the day following the 9th of the 5th month, the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires was bombed, killing 86 and wounding 300.
- In 2005, on the 10th day of the 5th month, the State of Israel, pressured by international politics, agreed to expel 8000 Jews from their homes in Gush Katif, as part of yet another "land for peace" deal with Palestinians. Jewish farmers of Gush Katif were forced to leave their homes and farms, and for the next week, the remaining residents were expelled, as the land was given to Israel’s enemies. Gush Katif evacuee Moshe Reuven stated:
"I am fasting and feeling sadness over the destruction of the Temple just like any Jew is feeling. But I am also mourning over the destruction of my house, my land, my community, and all of Gush Katif, which happened the day after Tisha B'Av."
Remember Israel’s day of calamity, Tisha B’Av this year: the evening of August 8th through the evening of the 9th.
Some practical ways you can remember this day: read the book of Lamentations, read Jeremiah 52, or fast.