Starting at sundown Wednesday, July 29th, 2020, is the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av (the name literally means the 9th of the Jewish month of Av). Since the time of Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, through modern times, horrible things have happened to the Jewish people on or around the 9th day of Av. Even former President of the United States Barack Obama, the most anti-Semitic President in my lifetime has an eerie connection to this sad day.
Tisha B’ Av is one of only two full-day 25-hour long fasts on the Jewish Calendar, the other being Yom Kippur (why do they call it a fast anyway? IMHO the 25-hours of not eating goes real slow). The two fasts are very different in tone and meaning, Yom Kippur is considered a happy fast. On that day, the people who are fasting are concentrating so hard on getting close to God that they couldn’t think of eating. It must be my ADHD because even though I am concentrating hard, by Yom Kippur afternoon, it’s hard to not think about food (or the headache from not having my daily dose of caffeine).
Tisha B’Av is different; it a sad mournful fast. It is a day associated with great tragedies for the Jews. That old expression about Jewish Holidays “they tried to kill us, we one, let’s eat” doesn’t apply to Tisha B’Av. Actually the day us more like “they tried to kill us, they won, let’s not eat.”
The sadness of the day centers around the loss of the two Temples in Jerusalem, but they are only two of the many horrible events that occurred on Tisha B’Av. Why did all those bad things happen on the 9th of Av? Because as it says in the book of Exodus many times, the Jews are a stiff-necked people. As a kid, I would cry at the drop of a hat. My mom would tell me that if I continued to cry, she would give me something real to cry about. My Mom, of blessed memory, didn’t originate that phrase, God did, and he “said it” on Tisha B’Av.
After being freed from slavery, leaving Egypt, and getting the Ten Commandments (and the entire Torah) at Mount Sinai, the children of Israel neared the holy land. At the peoples urging, Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan. Two of the spies returned with a favorable report, “We can surely go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it.
The other ten came back with what today would be called fake news:
“We came to the land to which you sent us, and it is flowing with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who inhabit the land are mighty, and the cities are extremely huge and fortified, and there we saw even the offspring of the giant. In Bamidbar (also known as Numbers) the Torah goes on to explain, “They spread an [evil] report about the land which they had scouted, telling the children of Israel, ‘The land we passed through to explore is a land that consumes its inhabitants, and all the people we saw in it are men of stature. There we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, descended from the giants. In our eyes, we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes.”
The people believed the negative report, just like much like parts of the country, believe CNN today. They freaked out big time. The children of Israel begged Moses to take them back to Egypt, where they would be slaves, but safe. It was only a few months after they witnessed all those miracles; the ten plagues, the splitting of the Reed Sea (not a typo), the revelation at Sinai when heard God’s voice and received the Ten Commandments, mana from heaven, etc., but it didn’t matter. Those newly freed slaves lost their faith in God, who pledged to help them conquer the land. God’s response was the generation that knew slavery would die out in the desert (taking 40 years), and that day, the 9th of Av will be a horrible day for the Jews until the coming of the Messiah. Just like my mom, God told the Jews he would give them something to cry about.
From that day forward, horrible things happened to the Jewish people on or around Tisha B’Av. Some of them include:
- The First Temple was destroyed.
- The Second Temple was destroyed.
- Bar Kokhba’s revolt against Rome failed in 135 CE
- Roman general Turnus Rufus ordered that the Temple area and its surroundings were to be plowed under. Jerusalem was to be rebuilt as a pagan city renamed Aelia Capitolina, and access was forbidden to Jews.
- The First Crusade officially commenced. The Crusaders killed 10,000 Jews in its first month and destroying Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland. A grand total of 1.2 million Jews were murdered by this crusade
- The Jews were expelled from France in 1306
- In 1492 it was the deadline for Jews to leave Spain, Convert or Die
- The beginning of WWI –which lead directly to the rise of Hitler
- 1941 Hermann Göring ordered SS general Reinhard Heydrich to make all the necessary preparations for the Final Solution.
- The first transports reached Treblinka, and the extermination of the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto began on July 23, 1942, which was Tisha B’av.
- In 1955 El Al Flight 402 was shot down over Bulgarian airspace on the 8th of Av.
- The AMIA Bombing (the Jewish Community Center) by terrorists in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 86 and wounded more than 120, occurred on July 18, 1994, the 10th of Av.
- In 2004, Barack Obama Gave the Keynote speech at the Democratic Convention on Tisha B’av and was crowned the heir apparent of the Democratic Party. That speech led him to be the next President of the United States. He was proven to be the most anti-Israel President in the history of modern Israel, and the most anti-Semitic President since FDR.
- The Disengagement from Gaza began on the 10th of Av in 2005, giving Hamas a base for its terrorism. Disengagement led to years of rocket bombardment and other terrorist attacks from Hamas and three wars.
- On Tisha B’ Ave 2013-John Kerry returned to the Middle East for another naive attempt to make peace.
- 2014-(8th of Av), The US State Department, bashed Israel for defending herself against Hamas terrorists, basically saying that Israeli soldiers are not allowed to defend themselves when attacked by terrorists who were committing war crimes by using human shields.
- 2015 The three weeks between the 17th day of the Jewish month of Tammuz (the day the Jerusalem City walls were first breached) and Tisha B’ Av is a period of mourning. Observant Jews will not take a haircut, shave, or listen to music. No Jewish weddings or other major celebrations are allowed during the “three weeks” as the entire time is considered a mourning period. “The P5+1 deal was signed on the 27th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz (during the three weeks), and the falsehoods and sell job by the administration is continued up to and beyond Tisha B’ Av.
Tisha B’Av became the saddest day in the Jewish Calendar because the Jews didn’t trust God and his promise to give us the land of Israel. In a way, our collective egos were too big. Despite witnessing all of those miracles, the nascent Jewish people felt they knew better than God and didn’t believe that he would keep his promise.
Thirty-five hundred years later, we are still weighed down by our massive egos. Many American Jewish leaders sought to gain favor from an anti-Israel President Obama, who became famous on Tisha B’av. Jewish organizations, such as the ADL, The AJC, AJ Committee, the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements put progressive politics in front of their Jewish missions. They worship the “Golden Calf’ of big government,” and to protect their positions in liberal politics, they support an Anti-Semitic Democratic Party.
Thirty-five hundred years ago, the Israelites said they could not conquer the land and were punished. Today many Jews still show a lack of faith in God and God’s promise. That’s despite the fact God’s promises are being proven. The book of Eichah (Lamentations) is read on Tisha B’Av. Chapter 5, Verse 18 of Eichah, reads, “For Mount Zion, which has become desolate; foxes prowl over it.” The video below was taken at the Kotel (the Western Wall) the week of Tisha’ B’Av in 2019.