The ninth of Av (Hebrew:תשעה באב) is a date in the Jewish Calendar that describes destruction. In the Jewish tradition there is no other date that describes more destruction and ruination than this date.
The first occurrence of this date appears in the Old Testament. This month is the fifth month and the first one is the spring month- the month that the people of Israel exiled from Egypt. At the end of 2 kings we are reading about the destruction of the first Temple by the hands of the Babylonians (586 B.C.E) who were sent by The Lord to punish the people of Judah due to their sins.
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The date in 2 Kings is the seventh day of the first month and not the ninth. Also in Jeremiah we are reading about the destruction and there the date is the tenth day of the fifth month (see Jeremiah 52:12).However the sages of Isreal said that on the seventh day the enemy entered into the Temple, in the ninth they burned it (as it’s written also in the Septuagint) and on the tenth the temple was burnt completely.
The next time that this date appears is when the Romans entered into the Second Temple that was built in 515 B.C.E, and they ruined it also. The date is the same but the year that this event happened was 70 A.C.E.
There’s a Jewish story about two people “Kamtsah” and “Bar Kamtsah” that due to their disagreement between them the Second Temple was destructed. Unlike the destruction of the first, the second was ruined due to the lack of love between the people, or as we call this “sin’at chinnam”- to hate people without any reason.
In the Jewish tradition we can find more historic events that happened on this day or close to this day. The first is the day when it was decided by G-d that the generation of the spies won’t enter into the Promised Land. Also the conquest of the city “Beitar”, which was the important city in the days of “Bar Kochva rebellion”, was on this day. Also the decision about the expulsion of the Jews from England (1290) , Spain(1492) and Varsaw (1942) happened on this date.
In the Jewish law (“Halakah“) there’s a list of things that a man can’t do on this day. You can’t wash, eat, drink , put cream on your body, wear shoes that are made of leather, learn Torah, sleep with a pillow, say hello to people. This is a day that you must avoid any enjoyment.
Even on one of the happiest days in our life, when we are getting married we are breaking the glass at the end of the ceremony in memory of the destruction of the Temples that happened on the ninth of Av.
May The Lord bless us with days of building and planting and not with days of destruction.
Photo credit: Merkaz Lehava(Moshe Botel)
Main phrases of the Post, Transcription & Translation:
Rebellion- Mered- מֶרֶד
Date- Ta’arich- תַּאֲרִיךְ