Ten Things To Know About Tisha B'Av `~ ` 9 of Av

August 4-5 2014

Tisha BiAv a time of Mourning
Tisha BiAv a time of Mourning

1- What is Tisha B'Av

It is a day on the Jewish calendar that is a day of tears, a day of sorrow yet out of this sadness there is knowing that out of sorrow can come joy. For in the mourning of Tisha B'Av there is the message of hope.

Tisha B'Av, the ninth day in the month of Av, is a day of mourning for, the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. It is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar because of the incredible series of tragedies which occurred on that date through out Jewish History.

2- What does Tisha B'Av mean

  • Tisha means the ninth day of the month
  • B' means in
  • Av is the 5th month of the year in the Jewish calendar

3- When is Tisha B' Av On the Jewish Calendar

2014 Tisha B' Av falls on August 4. It is important to remember that the Jewish calendar dates of holidays begins at sundown of the night beforehand. Thus at sunset the night before the dates are used. Upcoming dates are for Tisha B' Av are:

  • Tisha B'Av will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar:

    • 2014: August 4-5

      2015: July 25-26

      2016: August 13-14

      2017: July 31-August 1


The period beginning with Shiva Asar B'Tammuz, (17th of Tammuz) and ending in Tisha B'Av, "9th of Av" is known as the period of Bein HaMetzarim (Between the Straits) days of historical trouble and tragedy for the Jewish People.

4- Tears for Tisha B' Av

"A story in the tradition says that when the Romans set fire to the Temple, six angels came down from heaven, lighting on top of the Western Wall. As the violence mounted and the fire intensified, the angels wept. Their tears kept the flames away from that one part of the Temple, which is why the wall survives to this day. Those angels are still there, tradition says, and they are still weeping." (From Constantine's Sword by James Carroll p. 52)

9 Av is a more stringent fast than 17 Tammuz. It begins at sunset of the previous evening, when we gather in the synagogue to read the Book of Lamentations.
9 Av is a more stringent fast than 17 Tammuz. It begins at sunset of the previous evening, when we gather in the synagogue to read the Book of Lamentations.
the saddest day of the Jewish calendar,
the saddest day of the Jewish calendar,

"Judah is gone into exile because of affliction, and because of great servitude; she dwells among the nations, she finds no rest. All her persecutors overtook her within the straits."  Lamentations 1:3

5- 17th of Tammuz

A Minor Fast Day

The Three Weeks of Sorrow

The Seventeenth of Tammuz (Hebrew: שבעה עשר בתמוז‎, Shiv'ah Asar b'Tammuz) is a minor Jewish fast day commemorating the breach of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the Second Temple. Falling on the seventeenth day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz it marks the beginning of the three-week mourning period that leads up to Tisha B'Av. Known as the Three Weeks, in Judaism, a period of sorrow, commemorating the destruction of both the first and second Jewish Temples.

The 9th of Av - Tisha B'Av A Day of Mourning, A Day of Hope
The 9th of Av - Tisha B'Av A Day of Mourning, A Day of Hope

The 15th of Av

A Day for Rejoicing - when one meets their soulmate
A Day for Rejoicing - when one meets their soulmate

6- The Month Of Av

The Hebrew month of Av (or Menachem-Av, the consoler of Av) is the fifth of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar. The name Av literally means "father." It derives from the root which means "to will" or "to desire." Av always has 30 days, and its zodiacal sign is Leo. The month of Av is the month following the month of Tamuz.

The month is often referred to as Menahem (Comforter) This is either in reference to the divine Father (av) who comforts His people following the destruction, or to the Messiah who, tradition says, is to be born on the 9th of Av. The month of Av is one of the months that is not mentioned in the bible (along with Sivan, Nissan and Kislev) to this day the origin of these months still baffle many.

In Hebrew, Av is spelled aleph-bet, the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. There is a vast amount of folklore about each of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Legend says that they are indestructible, like Judaism itself.

Av is known as a month of the lowest point" of the Jewish calendar (the 9th of Av) as well as the month of the high point of the Jewish calendar for the 15th Of Av is a happy day for it is the day of finding ones predestined soul mate.

Av comes at the same time as the secular months July/August.

Tisha B'Av is a Jewish day of mourning - and a fast day - that commemorates the destruction of the two Temples. July 8 - 29, 2012
Tisha B'Av is a Jewish day of mourning - and a fast day - that commemorates the destruction of the two Temples. July 8 - 29, 2012

AD 70 - SIEGE OF THE THE TEMPLE

9TH OF AV
9TH OF AV

On the 9th Of Av

The spies returned and gave an evil report which discouraged the Jewish people and ended with them wandering in the desert.
~ Numbers 14:30 & Numbers 1:1-14:1

7- Tisha B'Av

Historic Day of Calamity

The Western Wall also known as the Wailing Wall and called the "Kotel" in Hebrew, is the one part of the Temple Mount that survived the Roman destruction of the Second Temple and stands to this day in Jerusalem.

1280 BC AV 9 -The sin of the spies caused Hashem to decree that the Children of Israel who left Egypt would not be permitted to enter the land of Israel.

586 BC AV 9 - The first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians.

70 AD AV 9 - The second Temple was destroyed by King Titus of Rome

135 AD AV 9 - Betar, the last stronghold in the heroic Bar Kochba rebellion, fell to the Romans on the 9 of Av in the year 3893. This was after a 3 year siege. 580,000 Jews starved to death or were killed by the sword. The leader of the rebellion Bar Kochva was killed.

136 AD- Roman Emperor Hadrian established the heathen temple to Jupiter on the site of the Jewish Temple and rebuilt Jerusalem as a pagan city named Aelia Capitolina, and renamed the land as Palestina, to distance its Jewish heritage.

The “Three Weeks” and Tisha B'Av are designated as a time of mourning over the destruction of the Holy Temple and the galut (exile).
The “Three Weeks” and Tisha B'Av are designated as a time of mourning over the destruction of the Holy Temple and the galut (exile).
Tishah b'Av, Venice, 1593. A mental image of the Temple burns in the background as members of the congregation sit on the floor reading the book of Lamentations.
Tishah b'Av, Venice, 1593. A mental image of the Temple burns in the background as members of the congregation sit on the floor reading the book of Lamentations.

8- Tisha B' Av

Historic Tragedies

1095 - The First Crusade declared.

1244 - Torahs and sacred books are burned in France.

1290 - King Edward I expels all Jews from England, 1290.

1492 - King Ferdinand of Spain issued the expulsion decree, setting Tisha B'Av as the final date by which not a single Jew would be allowed to walk on Spanish soil.

1670- The last Jews left Vienna, following expulsion orders.

1914 - On the eve of Tisha B'Av in Germany declared war on Russia World War I began which began the downward slide to the Holocaust

1942- The first killings started at Treblinka “The first transport of deportees left Malkinia on July 23, in the morning hours. It was loaded with Jews from the Warsaw ghetto.

On Tisha B'Av we read the Biblical book of Lamentations
On Tisha B'Av we read the Biblical book of Lamentations
Torah study is forbidden on Tisha B'Av except for sad texts such as the Book of Lamentations.
Torah study is forbidden on Tisha B'Av except for sad texts such as the Book of Lamentations.

Lamentations

The liturgy for the Fast of Tish B’ Av is the Book of Lamentations. It begins with the Hebrew word: “Eicha,” translated “How can it be?” or “Alas!”

The Book of Lamentations is read by a low candle light, in a low and mournful voice. Additional lamentations, called kinot, are said at night and also the following day. Kinot are mourning poems or poems describing sad events such as the destruction of the Second Temple, the crusades, and the holocaust.

It is customary to sit on the floor or low stools and to sleep on the floor or without a pillow on Tisha B' Av.

Tisha B' Av is a day of mourning, fasting, tears and prayer. Like Yom Kippur, Tisha B'Av is a major fast day that is observed from sunset to sunset. The ancient rabbis said, "When Av comes in all merriment goes out."

In the evening, the Book of Lamentations (Echah) is chanted. It is a powerful book that laments the loss of the Temple and describes the desolation of Jerusalem and the suffering of the Jewish people. Yet it is customary to end the reading on a note full of hope, by repeating the next to last verse, "Turn us unto Thee, Oh Lord, that we may be turned! Renew our days as of old!"

Interesting to note that many scholars believe that it was Jeremiah who wrote Lamentations and I think important to mention that Jeremiah's birthday falls on . . the 9th of Av.

It is important to remember that if the ninth day of Av falls on a Saturday (Shabbat), the fast is observed on the tenth day of the month of Av.

Tisha B'Av is a day of sorrow, but also a day of comfort and hope
Tisha B'Av is a day of sorrow, but also a day of comfort and hope

The Tears of the Exile

Tears For Tisha B'Av

It is told of Napoleon, that upon passing a synagogue during the Ninth of Av, looked inside and saw Jews sitting on the floor and weeping. When he inquired further he was told the Jews were mourning over the destruction of their Holy Temple. “How long ago did this occur?”, he asked. “About 1,500 years ago”. “In that case”, said Napoleon, “there is no doubt that their Temple will be rebuilt. A people capable of crying for so long over its destroyed Temple and Land will eventually find its way home.”

10- A Day Of Hope

The Shabbath following Tisha B'Av is called Shabbat Nachamu - the Sabbath of Comfort, and we read from the 40th chapter of Isaiah that begins, "Comfort ye, My people." It contains a dream of hope and comfort and so the mood changes from the tears of despair to hope.

Tisha B'Av is full of saddness and tears gloom and as we look to the days ahead when Tu B'Av comes we see it is the antidote. For as sad as the 9th of Av is, the 15th of Av is a time of joy and new beginnings.

The period beginning after Tisha B'Av and continuing through the month of Elul is the period of the "shiva d'nechemta," the "seven weeks of being comforted," when we read Haftarot in which the great destiny of the Jewish People is foretold, days of glory and peace. The concluding weeks of the seven week period coincides with the month of Elul, the month of "Teshuvah," "Repentance,"

From the ashes of the destroyed temple will rise an incomparably magnificent edifice. Exile will give birth to redemption. It is a tradition that our redeemer will be born on Tisha B' Av. It is a day of anticipation and hope, for "

One who mourns Jerusalem will merit seeing her happiness."

The Jewish Calendar Continues

Shabbat Nachamu (the Shabbat‬ of Comfort or Consolation) - this is the first Shabbat after Tisha B'Av and is very special. The‪ haftarah‬ read this week begins with the words "nahamu nahamu ami" or "comfort, comfort my people." With this reading, we enter a seven week period of consolation and comfort leading up to Rosh Hashanah.

Remembering the 9th of Av 17 comments

englightenedsoul profile image

englightenedsoul 6 years ago

A nice informative hub Shari. I had never heard of it but after reading your hub, I understand it now. Rated up!!!


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Shari thank you for such a complete explanation of Tisha B'Av. It always very inspiring and sobering to read of the basis of different faiths sacred days.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

I had not heard of this before. This is a very interesting tradition that you explained in good detail.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

~englightenedsoul - it is an interesting time. Growing up I had never heard of it either but as I got older and curious I started to read more and more. I am glad you stopped by . it is always nice to see you on my Hubs :)

~ billyaustindillon - I couldnt agree with you more. For the more we know and understand the more tolerant people can be of one another and their beliefs. Tisha B'Av though a somber time is one of hope... thanks so much for stopping by.

~ Pamela99 - It is interesting and sad. But the message is clear. . whatever was can be again. We live and we learn. Thanks for the visit:)


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

Hi from Singapore. Very nicely done with lots of historical facts and details. Definitely a sad commemoration but also one of hope. Rated it useful!


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

anginwu - thanks for starting my day with a smile! Was thinking about you and hoping you are having a great trip with your family! So nice that you had some time to stop by and say hi! Yes this is a time of hope mixed with some tears. Thanks ang .. love seeing you here:))) Your the best:)


livelonger profile image

livelonger 6 years ago from San Francisco

A wonderful resource on this Jewish holiday. You've presented this beautifully and very informatively. I learned a lot.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

Very interesting piece of History. First time I've heard of it and I'm more the wiser. Thanks to you. :)


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

livelonger - this has to be the hardest time period on the jewish calender. What I always find so amazing about the holidays is the explanations that the sages and wise ancestors left for us. Pretty amazing stuff and I never bore of learning it. Thanks for stopping by, always nice to see you.

Lady_E - thanks for coming by this somewhat somber Hub. Yet it is an interesting time and researching the whys is always intriguing for me. You know they say it is always a great day when we learn something new!


Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 6 years ago from USA or America

Hey Wavegirl, beautiful layout and presentation. You did a wonderful job on it. It makes for interesting reading. As you already know my position on religion. But, some will most certainly find it useful. As always, a pleasure. Thank you for sharing. ;) :)


drcrischasse profile image

drcrischasse 6 years ago from NH/Foxboro

I love articles like this. Wonderful just wonderful


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

Cags - I sure do know your position on religion which I respect even more so when you at least take the time out to support a fellow hubber in such endeavors.

Thanks and shalom my friend :)

drcrischasse - like you, these subjects always fill me with awe. Thanks for the visit!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

..well you learn something new everyday - and it's people like you who make this world a smaller and better place in which to live with well-researche/labor of love hubs like this - and besides - everytime I interact with you or come here - it's like a holiday - and time to celebrate the good things in life!


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY Author

epi - best part of a day is learning something new. And of course when someone makes you smile like you always do makes for a celebration in my book! Thanks for the support and coming by for a read:)


Marsha Hopp 4 years ago

The fast of Tisha b'Av is not observed on the Sabbath. When the 9th of Av falls on the Sabbath (Saturday) the fast and other observances begin as Shabbat ends. So he actual observance is observance is on the 10th of Av. That is the case this year, 2012. There is an Android app that we've done that includes a date calculator for Tisha b'Av: http://goo.gl/R6wpI


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 4 years ago from New York, NY Author

The Jewish calendar date begins at sundown of the night beforehand. Thus the fast begins with sunset of the first secular date listed, and concludes at nightfall the following day. For 2012 at sunset on July 28 the fast begins therefore Shabbat has concluded the fast then ends on Sunday July 29. Maybe you need to correct your app.


Marsha Hopp 4 years ago

Perhaps I was not clear in my explanation. You are correct that the fast of Tisha b'Av begins on the evening of Saturday, July 28, 2012, and ends on the night of Sunday, July 29. However, if you check a Jewish calendar, you will see that July 28 is the 9th of Av, and July 29 is the 10th of Av. That is, this year, the fast for Tisha b'Av is on the 10th of Av, because this fast is not permitted on the Sabbath (Saturday). The only fast that is permitted on a Sabbath is the fast of Yom Kippur.

Please note that the article above says:

Jewish Year 5772: sunset July 27, 2012 - nightfall July 28, 2012

This is the date for the 9th of Av, but not the date for the fast.

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    Tishah B' Av - A Day Of Tears and a Day Of Hope

    A people capable of crying for so long over its destroyed Temple and Land will eventually find its way home
    A people capable of crying for so long over its destroyed Temple and Land will eventually find its way home

    Hashivenu

    Hashivenu Hashem Eilecha VenaShuva - Chadesh Yameinu KeKedem

    Bring us back to you Hashem, and we shall return, renew our days as of old

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