by Arlene Berg
TISHA B’AV – pronounce “TISHA” with a short “i” and “a,” and with the accent on “TISH.” Pronounce B’AVwith a short “a.” The “B” in “B’AV” is pronounced quickly, with the accent on “AV”; TISH-a b’-AV
TISHA B’Av – Hebrew for “the Ninth of Av.” Av is the Jewish month comparable to July-August.
No other nation has a national day in any way similar to this saddest of days in Jewish history! Tisha B’Av is a day of fasting and mourning that commemorates the destruction of the First Temple by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and the destruction of the Second Temple by Titus and the Romans in 70 A.D. Both Temples were destroyed on this very same day, the Ninth of Av! In 2017 this day starts at sundown on Monday, July 31 and ends at sundown on August 1.
One of the Jewish commentaries (“Halakhot Gedolot”) states, “Anyone who eats or drinks on Tisha B’Av will not see the (future) rejoicings of Jerusalem because it is written in Isaiah (66:10) ‘Rejoice ye with Jerusalem. . .all ye that mourn for her.'”
Down through the gloomy centuries of Jewish history, other catastrophes and horrors have occurred on Tisha B’Av. Some of these are : the doomed Bar Kochba (false messiah) revolt in 135 A.D. and the slaughter of his followers in 138 A.D.; the death of the brilliant Rabbi Akiba and nine other martyrs in the first centruy A.D.; Hadrian’s leveling of Jerusalem in 136 A.D.; the Holy Crusades and their unholy massacres, rapes, and other atrocities; England’s expulsion of the Jewish people in 1290; Spain’s explusion of the Jewish people in 1492; and many horrors during the Holocaust, including the deportation of Jewish people from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka death camp in 1942.
From sundown, July 31, 2017 to sundown, August 1, 2017 religious Jewish people will fast and mourn on Tisha B’Av. The mourning really starts three weeks before Tisha B’Av and intensifies during the nine days preceding the Ninth of Av. During these nine days or the week of Tisha B’Av, the cutting of hair, laundering of clothes, bathing, and eating of meat are prohibited.
In the synagogues on Tisha B’Av, the book of Ekha, or Lamentations, is read, along with mourning prayers called “kinot.” The mourners sit on the floor or on low stools or upturned benches. Subdued lighting is used, and at one point all the lights are turned off as Ekha 3:6 is read – “He hath set me in dark places, like the dead of old.” In some synagogues, the beautiful curtain which covers the Ark in which the Torah scrolls are kept, is removed. Sometimes the Ark and Torah scrolls are covered in black.
Is it any wonder that Jewish tradition states that the Mashiach, Messiah, will be born on Tish B’Av! Is it any wonder that the Midrash (one of the famous Jewish commentaries) states that one of the names of the Mashiach is “Menachem” or “Comforter.” This is taken from Ekha 1:16 “. . because the comforter who should relieve my soul is far from me.”
Won’t you pray for the Jewish people as they fast and mourn on Tisha B’Av. Ask God to open their eyes to Whom their true Messiah, Comforter, is! Another Jewish tradition states that the Mashiach will appear on Tisha B’Av, and the day of mourning will become a national day of rejoicing with the Temple rebuilt! How we long for Jewish people to have their mourning turned into joy as they come to the One Who gave His Temple, His body and blood, so that they can have forgiveness of sins and true peace and joy (John 2:19-21; 10:10; 14:27; 15:11; 16:24)! Perhaps God will give you an opportunity to tell the Jewish person whom you may know how he or she can have everlasting joy and life in Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah.
“Jesus answered, and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body.” — John 2:19-21.
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” — John 10:10b.
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” — Psalm 32:1.