Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, commemorates the many evils that have befallen the Jewish people (coincidentally?) on this day:
- 9 Av 2448 (Hebrew date) Spies return from the Promised Land with an evil report, causing Israelites to fear, the LORD’s anger to burn, and the Jews to wander for forty years.
- 9 Av 3340 Destruction of the first temple by the Babylonians. 100,000 Jews killed. Jews taken captive to Babylon and Persia.
- 9 Av 3830 Destruction of the second temple by the Romans. 2,500,000 Jews die, over 1,000,000 exiled, and 100,000 sold as slaves.
- 9 Av 4855 The first Crusades declared by Pope Urban II.
- 9 Av 5050 The expulsion of Jews from England.
- 9 Av 5252 The expulsion of Jews from Spain.
- 9 Av 5702 Deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka concentration camp begins.
- 9 Av 5754 Bombing of Jewish community center in Buenos Aires kills 86 and wounds 300.
Though the day is inherently Jewish, the message of Tisha B’Av reaches all people. Large-scale acts of hatred do not spontaneously erupt. They begin with individual attitudes, individual choices and individual acts of discrimination.
Tisha B’Av illustrates the result of sinas chinam (baseless hatred). It gives us the opportunity to acknowledge times in our lives when we mistreated one another, or failed to speak or act on behalf of someone else.
Tisha B’Av reminds us that each time we choose to overcome baseless hatred with baseless love, we come closer to knowing God, who loves us even though we do not deserve it.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Leviticus 19:18, JPS)
Tisha B’Av, occurs this year (2011) from sunset Monday, August 8th to sunset Tuesday, August 9th. For more information, visit:
Copyright 2011, Kathryn A. Frazier, Shevarim.com