“And (after twelve spies returned to Israel in the desert and advised the majority not to enter the land) that night the people wept (Bamidbar 14:1). That night was the night of Tisha b’Av, and the saint said to them: “You cried for no reason – and I wish you to weep for generations to come.” We will correct this date.”
They were weeping because they did not want to enter the land. In fact, history shows that on the same night that year, generations of Jews cried because Israel was expelled from their land.
The booklet of Ta’anit (4:6) mentions the Mishnah. And the first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. The second temple was destroyed by the Romans. In 135 A.D. (after the Bar Kokhba rebellion), the great city of Betar was captured (with an enormous loss of life and an end to attempts at renewed independence). And a year later, by order of Hadrian, the city of Jerusalem was plowed by the Romans (the Romans founded a new non-Jewish city, Aelia Capitolina, over the ruins).
But neither the end of Roman persecution nor the end of the Talmudic era meant the end of Tisha Bav’s tragic history. Fast forward to 1492 and the golden age of Jewish life in Spain was coming to an end just as Columbus set sail on his epic journey. Under the influence of the fanatical elements of the Catholic Church, Jews were ordered by Ferdinand and Isabella to convert or leave. And so many have left by the final extended deadline to coincide with his Tisha b’Av that year.
And while much cited for the tragic continuation of this day’s history in exile over thousands of years, that event was by no means the end of Tisha b’Av’s tragic history.
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburg throne, and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo. Austria declared war on Serbia just a month later when Serbia did not cooperate in the search for those responsible. Two days later Russia began mobilizing and Germany demanded a halt to preparations at the German border. The ultimatum was ignored and on August 1, 1914 – Tisha b’Av – Germany declared war on Russia.
The “war to end all wars” began and set in motion the events that brought Hitler to power and, in effect, the Holocaust. And even with regard to the Holocaust itself, at its peak he saw unprecedented atrocities daily during his three to four years, his Tisha b’Av (June 22) in 1942 , stands out as the date on which the first transfer took place. Heading to Treblinka from the Warsaw Ghetto, which will soon be liquidated. Just a year before him on August 2, 1941, which was also his Tisha b’Av, SS commander Heinrich his Himmler formally approved the “Final Solution” from the Nazi party. I was receiving
In this particular context, and following the convention of remembering all the tragedies of our history on this day, many communities have made Tisha b’Av a day of religious remembrance of the Holocaust.In the morning of Tisha b’Av To Kinnot’s long list, read aloud and covering events from the destruction to the Middle Ages, the composition was added in the same style as the original, but describing the horrors of the Holocaust.
After the founding of Israel in 1948, and especially after the recapture of Jerusalem in 1967, many questioned the contemporary relevance of Tisha b’Av. Especially since 1967, Jerusalem is no longer a city in ruins and in mourning. But unfortunately, even in independent Israel, we are not yet masters of our own destinies It is clear that even in our triumphs, pain and suffering continue.
Before Yom Ha’atzmaut, we commemorate Yom Hazikaron – and this year was the only time we attended a ceremony that took place on that day at the Har Herzl Military Cemetery. Yom Hazikaron 2022 terrorism equals almost half of the Jewish population of Melbourne or Sydney!!! At the very moment the news reached me, I was attending a concert in the Great Synagogue featuring the famous Chazan, Itschok Meir Helfgott, shortened out of respect for the victims. But I couldn’t think of a better real-life example of Naomi Shemmer’s famous composition ‘Al hadvash ve’al ha’okets, Al hamar ve’hamatok’. Life in Israel encapsulates “honey and stings, bitter and sweet…” Tisha Bav of our generation, no matter how much he extolls the sweetness of modern Jewish life, , is a reminder that its bitterness and sting cannot be ignored. It has (and sadly continues to mark) our history.
The Talmud text prescribed for the study of Tisha b’Av states that the original causes of destruction included strife between the warring parties and what is commonly called “sin’at chinam” – unfounded hatred. It emphasizes that and conflict. We share the pain as a united nation. And even as we move into hard-fought elections, let us seek Ahavat Chinam (Love Beyond Reason). Hardships to final redemption According to lore, just as the temple was destroyed in Tisha b’Av, so was Mashiach.
Shalom on the Sabbath,
(Isaiah 40:1 – May our comfort be doubled, like Nachamu nachamu ami)
Yossi Aron OAM AJNMoreacademic affairs editor of
Tisha b’Av Through the Ages – Australian Jewish News
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