Tag: Tisha B’Av

Finding the God spot

Rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem – and within ourselves. by  Rabbi Eliyahu Yaakov The Temple is like a spiritual hotspot. Just as there are hotspots that receive satellite beams and activate your laptop’s internet, so too, there are God spots…

To be Holy in our land

by Jonathan Rosenblum After returning to Israel, why continue to mourn the destruction of the Temple?

After the creation of the State of Israel, the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, and the influx of Jewish immigrants from the four corners of the earth, is it possible that Jews continue to mourn the destruction of the Temple as if nothing had happened in the interim?

At the simplest level, the question would seem to be based on a false premise: that we are a sovereign people in our Land. The clearest evidence to the contrary comes from the site of the Temple itself. Though the Temple Mount has ostensibly been under Israeli control since 1967, successive Israeli governments have stood by helplessly while the Muslim Wakf has worked unimpeded to destroy archaeological evidence of the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.

The Wakf converted Solomon’s stables and the Eastern Hulda Gate passageway into the largest mosque in Israel, capable of accommodating 10,000 worshippers. The Western Hulda Gate passageway was also converted into a mosque.

Thousands of tons of dirt were unceremoniously dumped. After receiving permission to build an emergency exit to the larger mosque. the Wakf took advantage to excavate an enormous hole from which thousands of tons of dirt were dumped unceremoniously into the Kidron Valley. A three-foot long stone fragment found among the rubble was, according to one archaeologist, “the most important artifact ever recovered from the Temple Mount…”

If Only

by Sara Debbie Gutfreund On Tisha B’Av I can feel the weight of thousands of years of “if onlys.”

For the past few weeks I have been walking around in a daze. The terrible tragedy of Leiby Kletzky’s death feels like a constant loss wherever I turn. Last Shabbos a neighbor’s nine-year-old boy came to pick up his little sister from our house. And he looked exactly like the picture of Leiby. I felt tears spring suddenly to my eyes. Not on Shabbos, I warned myself. Do not cry on Shabbos in front of all of your children while you are serving dessert. But I felt like I was choking, like my heart was in my throat. Like I could feel somehow another mother’s heart shattering across the ocean. And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I don’t know why. Usually it takes me a day or two to digest an awful story in the news. Sometimes it only takes me an hour, or just a few minutes. But these past few weeks have been different for some reason. Maybe because I have children that are around Leiby’s age. Maybe because I worry when my children are even a minute late, and I can so readily feel the agony of a mother whose child will never come home.

But what is taking my breath away lately is how the summer sun can still shine in the shadow of such loss. I cannot comprehend it. How can the sky be such a startling shade of blue on a morning like this? How can the branches of the olive tree reach so majestically upwards, cradling tiny, colorful birds who continue to sing as if no one is crying? As if a nation’s heart isn’t broken? As if a child has not just disappeared forever? How could the world just continue this way with its stunning sunsets and dawns full of hope?

ABCs of Tisha B’Av

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons The Jewish national period of mourning.

The “Three Weeks” between the 17th of Tammuz and the Tisha B’Av have historically been days of misfortune and calamity for the Jewish people. During this time, both the First and Second Temples were destroyed, amongst other tragedies.

These days are referred to as the period “within the straits” (bein hametzarim), in accordance with the verse: “All her oppressors have overtaken her within the straits” (Lamentations 1:3).

During this time, various aspects of mourning are observed by the entire nation. We minimize joy and celebration – no weddings are held, we do not listen to music, nor are there haircuts or shaving. The expressions of mourning take on greater intensity as we approach the day of Tisha B’Av.

Since the attribute of Divine judgment (“din”) is acutely felt, we avoid potentially dangerous or risky endeavors.

On Shabbat during the Three Weeks, the Haftorahs are taken from chapters in Isaiah and Jeremiah dealing with the Temple’s destruction and the exile of the Jewish people.

Agonizing over these events is meant to help us conquer those spiritual deficiencies which brought about these tragic events. Through the process of “teshuva” – self-introspection and a commitment to improve – we have the power to transform tragedy into joy. In fact, the Talmud says that after the future redemption of Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple, these days will be re-dedicated as days of rejoicing and festivity.

The story is told of Napoleon walking through the streets of Paris one Tisha B’Av. As his passed a synagogue he heard the sounds of mourning and crying. “What’s this all about?” Napoleon asked. An aide explained that the Jews were in mourning the loss of their Temple. “When did this happen?” Napoleon asked. The aide replied,

Tisha B’Av – The Ninth of Av

Overview and laws of the Jewish national day of mourning.


On Tisha B’Av, five national calamities occurred:

• During the time of Moses, Jews in the desert accepted the slanderous report of the 10 Spies, and the decree was issued forbidding them from entering the Land of Israel. (1312 BCE)

• The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more exiled. (586 BCE)

• The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, led by Titus. Some two million Jews died, and another one million were exiled. (70 CE)

• The Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The city of Betar — the Jews’ last stand against the Romans — was captured and liquidated. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered. (135 CE)

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