The 9th day of Av, the fifth month of the biblical calendar, or "Tisha B’Av," marks many of the worst calamities in Israel’s history. Tisha B’Av is preceded by a three week period of fasting and mourning / repentance, starting on the 17th day of the fourth month of the biblical calendar, Tammuz.
Today, Tisha b’Av is observed by religious Jews primarily as a day of mourning over the destruction of the Second Temple.
Tisha B’Av is a day set aside to remember the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. There are many. Our Teachers tell us that the sin of the spies in the wilderness took place on this date. Also, the decree of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to expel the Jews took place on this date. Specifically the day is a remembrance of the destruction of the First and Second Temples. This includes, in both cases, the destruction of Jerusalem and a loss of sovereignty.
Most observances of this nature are designed to remember the fallen. For example, Yom HaShoah is a day set aside to remember the victims of the Holocaust.
Tisha B’Av is different. The observance is not really designed to remember the fallen but rather to remember collectively the covenant relationship between God and the Jewish people. Perhaps if the events took place in closer proximity to our day, there might be a focus on the victims. Be that as it may, the motif of the service is the remembrance of the covenant. The Book of Lamentations is read and is followed by a series of paragraphs called “kinot” “dirges”. These poems reflect the sadness of the tragedies and often relate the tragedies to rebellion of the people. However, some of the Kinot reflect the hope of redemption. It is important for us all to remember Tisha B’Av because we stand with our people of every generation who have suffered at the hands of those who would seek to destroy us. Just as we stood at Sinai we were there at every juncture of Jewish history. We collectively identify with the tragedies, the rebellions and the victories. On Tisha B’Av we weep with our people over the tragedies of history.
This week’s Haftorah is from Isaiah chapter 40 which begins Comfort ye my people. This passage begins a prolonged section in Isaiah that promises redemption; that promises the restoration of Israel, land and blessing. The prophets spoke of a day of darkness that would be followed by a day of victory.
As Messianic Jews we share in that hope. God has given us the assurance of that day when he sent the Messiah. His sufferings epitomize the history of the Jewish people. His resurrection is the hope of Israel. When we embrace our Rabbi, Maran Yeshua, we experience aspects of the resurrection life. We are sad over the travail of our people but we rejoice that there will be the day when the Temple will be rebuilt again and the Messiah will sit on his throne in Jerusalem, the nations will come to Jerusalem and there will be peace.
From the 17th of Tammuz to the 9th of Av, pray for a spirit of grace and supplication to be released on the Jewish nation. Pray on a very practical level for Israel’s deliverance from evil. Beseech Ribono Shel Olam (the Sovereign of the Universe) to withhold judgment for the sake of the righteous remnant. We believe that the Tikkun (repair) of Tisha Be’Av is belief in Mashiach, to love every Jew, and to have full emunah (faith) in HaShem.
There is a legendary story of Napoleon related to Tisha b’Av. One year on this annual day of Jewish mourning, he was walking past a synagogue when he heard crying and lamenting from within. He inquired as to the reason for their wailing and was told they were weeping over the destruction of their temple.
“When was it destroyed?” he asked. They told him 1,800 years ago. Napoleon reportedly responded, “I vow that this people is destined for a future to worship in their own homeland. For is there any other people who have kept alive similar mourning and hope for so many years?” Afterwards, Napoleon became known for his favorable disposition toward the Jews.
We need Tisha B’Av to remember how great the hope and consolation of Messiah truly is.
Tags: biblical calendar, book of lamentations, covenant relationship, destruction of jerusalem, isabella of spain, juncture, king ferdinand and queen isabella, king ferdinand and queen isabella of spain, observance, observances, queen isabella of spain, religious jews, repentance, rsquo, second temple, tisha b av, tragedies, victims of the holocaust, worst calamities, yom hashoah
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