Tisha B’Av is observed with mourning and contemplation
“Tisha B’Av is an appointed day when you relate to Hashem [God] by discovering how far you are from him,” said Rabbi Aaron Kahn, a director of the Advanced Institute of Talmudic Studies at New York City’s Yeshiva University. “Relating to Him gives us the opportunity to do teshuva [repentance].”
Throughout Jewish history, an array of tragic events fell on the ninth day of the Hebrew calendar month of Av.
1312 B.C.E.: According to Jewish tradition, 10 of the 12 spies returned from Israel with malicious reports about the land and its inhabitants, and the Israelites fell into despair
Traditionally, Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, is observed in several ways:
At the end of the afternoon prior to Tisha B’Av, one eats the Se’udah Hamafsekes, a meal of bread, water and a hard-boiled egg dipped in ashes.
Beginning at sundown, one must refrain from consuming food and drink until the following sundown (unless one is ill).
Toby Brookes is decidedly undecided about Tisha B’Av. The product of modern Orthodox day schools and summer camps, Mrs. Brookes has vivid childhood recollections of this traditional mourning day. As a girl at summer camp, she fasted. She read from Eicha, the graphic and terrifying Book of Lamentations, and even joined other campers in re-enacting the fall of the First and Second Beit HaMikdash, or Holy Temple, in Jerusalem.
The following are nine things you should know about Tisha B’Av, the final holiday of the Jewish year:
1. Tisha B’Av means “ninth [day] in [the month of] Av.”
2. The holiday begins at sunset on Wednesday, July 17, and ends the following evening.
3. The day marks a number of tragedies in Jewish history that occurred on or near the 9th of Av: The destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.; the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 C.E.; the fall of the last Jewish stronghold in the third revolt against the Romans in 135 C.E.; the Romans’ ploughing the Temple site to build a pagan temple in 136 C.E.; the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.