Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tisha B'Av (Repost)

Reposted from last year.

Today is Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of the month of Av, the saddest day in the history of the Jewish People. On this day the following has happened:
  • Both Temples were destroyed on this day.
  • G-d decreed, following the Sin of the Spies as recounted in Numbers 13-14, that the Children of Israel would not be allowed to enter the Land of Israel until the entire generation had died out.
  • The fall of Beitar, the last fortress to hold out during the Bar Kochba revolt in the year 135 C.E., fell to the Romans, marking the last milestone in the beginning of our current Exile.
  • A year later, the Temple area was plowed under.
  • The Jews of Spain were expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492.
  • World War I erupted in 1914.
  • The Jews of Gush Katif spent their last legal day in their homes in 2005, and were expelled three days later.
The restrictions on Tisha B'Av are similar to those on Yom Kippur: to refrain from eating and drinking (even water); washing, bathing, shaving or wearing cosmetics; wearing leather shoes; engaging in sexual relations; and studying Torah. Work in the ordinary sense of the word [rather than the Shabbat sense] is also restricted. People who are ill need not fast on this day. Many of the traditional mourning practices are observed: people refrain from smiles, laughter and idle conversation, and sit on low stools.

In synagogue, the book of Lamentations is read and mourning prayers are recited. The ark (cabinet where the Torah is kept) is draped in black.

Yet there is always the hope on this day that the Temple will be rebuilt. The Temple Institute has recreated some (but not all of the implements) to be used in the Temple once it is rebuilt.

Tisha B'Av at the Kotel

While last year there were stories on new Temple robes being made for the High Priest, the High Priest Crown was finished, and the news that even secular Israelis would be willing to support the rebuilding of the Temple, this year is bleaker. For the world is demanding that Jews give up their rights to the Kotel (Western Wall), that Jews stop building in Jerusalem, that the 2,000 year-old dream of rebuilding the Temple must be stopped.

Already Muslim claims that neither Temple (the one built by Solomon or the one built by Herod) ever existed in Jerusalem are being accepted by "scholars" around the world. This in the face of existing Archaeological evidence and Historical writings. The Temple Mount is forbidden to Jews (yet it is the holiest place in Judaism). It would be like forbidding Bethlehem to Christians.

So on this Tisha B'Av, I will pray for the rebuilding of the Temple (may it come soon), and for the city of Jerusalem. I will mourn the losses done on this day, and pray for the Messiah to redeem the people.

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Jungle Mom said...

Thank you for sharing this. i am always fascinated by the Jewish culture and history. i admire it very much
I also thought Golda Meir was a perfect choice for a representative of modern Israel. I think Esther would do well for ancient Israel.

Holger Awakens said...

Great piece, always.

Maggie M. Thornton said...

Really interesting Findalis. All of this happened on the same day of the same month. Isn't that something?

dick stanley said...

Nicely done. I needed a good link, thanks.

Presume, however, that your prayer for rebuilding is symbolic? Or have you a good source for red heifers?

Dick Stanley

Findalis said...

dick: Not symbolic. And G-d will provide the Red Heifers or genetic minipulation.

Maggie: There is a reason, and one day G-d will let it be known.

Holger: Thanks.

Jungle Mom: Deborah for ancient Israel.