Tisha B’Av always reminds me of my Mom. When I was a kid I would cry at the drop of the hat, my mom would tell me that if I continued to cry she would give me something real to cry about. Many of my friends claim that it was their parents that invented that saying but in actuality it was God who invented it and he was talking about Tisha B’Av.

When Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan, ten of them came back with a report that the land was unconquerable. The fledgling Israeli nation could never defeat those Canaanite Giants. There were cries throughout the Children of Israel asking Moses to take them back to Egypt.

They forgot all about God, and his promise to help us conquer the land. That was the first Tisha B’Av. God’s response was not only the generation that knew slavery would die out in the desert, but that Tisha B’Av will be a horrible day for the Jews, in other words God would give us something real to cry about.

From that day on horrible things have happend to the Jewish people on Tisha B’Av. Some of them include:

  • The First was destroyed
  • The Second Temple was destroyed
  • Bar Kokhba’s revolt against Rome failed
  • In 1290 King Edward I expelled the Jews from England
  • In 1492 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.
  • In 1955 El Al Flight 402 was shot down over Bulgarian airspace on the 8th of Av.
  • The AMIA Bombing (Asociación Mutua Israelita Argentina) by terrorists in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 86 and wounded more than 120, was on July 18, 1994, the 10th of Av.
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That first Tisha B’Av occurred because we didn’t trust God and his promise to give us the land of Israel. In a way our collective ego’s were too big, even if we felt that we were unworthy of God’s reward, it was still an ego issue. We felt that we knew better than God. That he wouldn’t keep his promise.

Thirty-five hundred years later we are still weighted down by our large egos. Israeli leaders especially its Prime Minister armed with the Hubris of ego feel they can do no wrong. When criticized for the way the Lebanon war was waged they blame others, when they see that the “disengagement” from Gaza harmed more than it helped they show no remorse, they look for even more territory to give back.

Thirty-Five hundred years ago, Israel said they could not conquer the land and were punished. Today Olmert, Peres and Livni say they can’t keep the land. They show no faith in God and God’s promise. On this Tisha B’Av, I pray that they wake will up before it is too late.

Tisha Be’Av tragedies
Posted by MK Benny Elon |
Tisha Be’Av is a time of fasting and mourning for the loss of both Jewish temples. It is a time of reflection and personal, as well as collective, introspection. Tisha Be’ Av is the time to open ourselves to constructive criticism, to consider how to correct our wrongs and to change our ways. Our prime minister and government were given a prime opportunity to do this last week when the state comptroller released his much anticipated report on the government’s performance during the second Lebanon war. In it, the state comptroller gave an in-depth description of the failure of government, police, fire department, medical services and social service functions during the war. Rather than receiving the comptroller’s criticism and considering his suggestions, Prime Minister Olmert lashed out and publicly attacked the comptroller for his report. Prime Minister Olmert’s official response to the state comptroller’s report clearly expressed his lack of accountability to the Israeli public. In a booklet entitled “Comments of the Prime Minister to the State Comptroller”, Prime Minister Olmert stated, “The Comptroller marks attractive targets and shoots in all directions in order to achieve headlines and to create public opinion.” This reaction makes it clear that Prime Minister Olmert still does not understand the devastation that he caused during the war. He has yet to take responsibility for approving a war that lasted 34 days leaving 1/3 of Israel’s civilian population in inadequate shelters. Prime Minister Olmert is the first in Israeli history to allow an entire war to be fought within our borders and among our civilian population. Since Ben Gurion, Israel has succeeded in pushing the frontline of every battle into the heart of enemy territory. The disability of the Prime Minister to consider constructive criticism and to rectify his actions is not only sad but also dangerous for Israel. It displays a deep immoral sickness that has been allowed to eat away at the legitimacy of the state like a cancer.As we approach the fast of Tisha Be’ Av, I feel that it is necessary to recall this day not only in Israel’s historical past, but in our recent past as well. Last year during the fast of Tisha Be’ Av, five people were killed by rockets fired into Israel by Hamas. The families of Shimon Zribi, his 15-year-old daughter Mazal, Albert Ben-Abu, and Aryeh and Tiran Tamam don’t need an official report from the state comptroller to remind them of the shortage of usable shelters and the lack of government preparedness during the war. The skies rained rockets on Akko last Tisha Be’ Av and claimed the lives of these innocent people. The fast of Tisha Be’ Av in 2005 was also a terrible day in our history. That was our last Tisha Be’ Av in Gush Katif. I was in Morag, praying in the synagogue. Two days later that very synagogue was dismantled and our brothers were forcefully uprooted from their homes. Our sages teach us that the second Jewish temple was destroyed as a punishment for Sinat Hinam, unnecessary hatred among brothers. Those awful days continue to trouble me because I saw soldiers in IDF uniforms carrying out the most hateful act against their brothers, evicting them from their homes and destroying their synagogues. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, his deputy Ehud Olmert as well as the their government forced this tragedy upon us and nothing was accomplished by it other than the creation of a radical Hamas state in the middle of Israel.I am haunted by the thought that our army was so prepared to fight against its own brothers but yet was so unprepared to defend itself and Israel’s civilian population from our enemies one year later. This Tisha Be’Av, I pray that we as a collective state will be humble enough to learn from the tragic mistakes we have seen this prime minister and his government make, to intercede in order to correct them and heed the warnings that have come from the state comptroller.