July 29, 2020 (Tish’a B’Av begins at sundown on Wed, 29 July 2020.)
Tish’a B’Av / תשעה באב
Tisha B’Av (Hebrew: תשעה באב or ט׳ באב, “the Ninth of Av,”) is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day (Tisha) of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date. Tisha B’Av is never observed on Shabbat. If the 9th of Av falls on a Saturday, the fast is postponed until the 10th of Av.
Tish’a B’Av begins at sundown on Wed, 29 July 2020.
The 9th of Av, Tisha b’Av, commemorates a list of catastrophes so severe it’s clearly a day set aside by G‑d for suffering. Learn seven historical events that took place on Tisha b’Av, the Jewish day of mourning.
In this article:
- 1. The Spies Returned With a Bad Report
- 2. Both Holy Temples Were Destroyed
- 3. The Battle at Betar Was Lost
- 4. The Romans Plowed the Beit Hamikdash
- 5. The Jews Were Expelled From England
- 6. The Jews Were Banished From Spain
- 7. Both World Wars Began
1. The Spies Returned With a Bad Report
Picture this: The year is 1313 BCE. The Israelites are in the desert, recently having experienced the miraculous Exodus, and are now poised to enter the Promised Land. But first they dispatch a reconnaissance mission to assist in formulating a prudent battle strategy. The spies return on the eighth day of Av and report that the land is unconquerable. That night, the 9th of Av, the people cry. They insist that they’d rather go back to Egypt than be slaughtered by the Canaanites. G‑d is highly displeased by this public demonstration of distrust in His power, and consequently that generation of Israelites never enters the Holy Land. Only their children have that privilege, after wandering in the desert for another 38 years.
2. Both Holy Temples Were Destroyed
The First Temple was also destroyed on the 9th of Av (423 BCE). Five centuries later (in 69 CE), as the Romans drew closer to the Second Temple, ready to torch it, the Jews were shocked to realize that their Second Temple was destroyed the same day as the first.
3. The Battle at Betar Was Lost
When the Jews rebelled against Roman rule, they believed that their leader, Simon bar Kochba, would fulfill their messianic longings. But their hopes were cruelly dashed in 133 CE as the Jewish rebels were brutally butchered in the final battle at Betar. The date of the massacre? Of course—the 9th of Av!
4. The Romans Plowed the Beit Hamikdash
One year after their conquest of Betar, the Romans plowed over the Temple Mount, our nation’s holiest site.
5. The Jews Were Expelled From England
The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 CE on, you guessed it, Tisha b’Av.
6. The Jews Were Banished From Spain
In 1492, the Golden Age of Spain came to a close when Queen Isabella and her husband Ferdinand ordered that the Jews be banished from the land. The edict of expulsion was signed on March 31, 1492, and the Jews were given exactly four months to put their affairs in order and leave the country. The Hebrew date on which no Jew was allowed any longer to remain in the land where he had enjoyed welcome and prosperity? Oh, by now you know it—the 9th of Av.
7. Both World Wars Began
The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 CE on, you guessed it, Tisha b’AvReady for just one more? World War II and the Holocaust, historians conclude, was actually the long drawn-out conclusion of World War I that began in 1914. And yes, amazingly enough, Germany declared war on Russia, effectively catapulting the First World War into motion, on the 9th of Av, Tisha b’Av.
What do you make of all this? Jews see this as another confirmation of the deeply held conviction that history isn’t haphazard; events – even terrible ones – are part of a Divine plan and have spiritual meaning. The message of time is that everything has a rational purpose, even though we don’t understand it.© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org’s copyright policy.