Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tisha B'Av: Mourning the destruction of Jerusalem's Holy Temples

The Ninth of Av is a date marked by tragedy in Jewish history. On this day:

  • The Jews in the desert wept in fear after hearing the report of the spies, and G-d decreed, as recounted in Numbers 13-14, that they would not be allowed to enter the Land of Israel until that entire generation had died out. Our sages say that G-d's words were a prophecy: "You cried for nothing, and I will give you a reason to cry for generations to come."

  • Beitar, the last fortress to hold out during the Bar Kochba revolt in the year 135 C.E., fell to the Romans and over 100,000 Jews were slain.

  • A year later, the Temple area was plowed over, marking the last milestone of national Jewish presence in the Promised Land until the modern era.

  • The cruel expulsion of the Jews of Spain by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492 achieved its goal.

  • World War I erupted in 1914, causing untold suffering to the Jews of Europe and Palestine and setting the stage for World War II and the Holocaust.

  • Mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka death camp began, in 1942.

  • There is a more recent tragedy. The Jews of Gush Katif spent their last legal day in their homes in Tisha B'Av of 2005, and were expelled three days later. The "Disengagement" the forced expulsion of more than 9,000 Jews from their homes in northern Samaria and the Jewish Gaza region, was carried out by a government, headed by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his deputy Ehud Olmert, who sent in soldiers and police, many of them dressed in black uniforms and riot gear, followed by bulldozers that destroyed the Jewish homes. READ MORE