Tisha B’Av (9th of Av)

Last Updated: 11/12/2023 20:52    | Print This Page | |

In Hebrew, the 9th of Av is called Tisha B’Av. Av is a month on the Jewish calendar. It occurs on different times on the Gregorian calendar, but usually in July, August or September. For more on the calendar issue, check out Guy Cramer’s research.

Judaism 101’s website

Five misfortunes befell our fathers ... on the ninth of Av. ...On the ninth of Av it was decreed that our fathers should not enter the [Promised] Land, the Temple was destroyed the first and second time, Bethar was captured and the city [Jerusalem] was ploughed up. | Mishnah Ta’anit 4:6
Zechariah 7:3
...Should I weep in the fifth month [Av], separating myself, as I have done these so many years?

II Kings 25:8-9
In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month ...came Nebuzaradan ... and he burnt the house of the L-RD...

Jeremiah 52:12-13
In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month... came Nebuzaradan ... and he burnt the house of the L-RD...
How then are these dates to be reconciled? On the seventh the heathens entered the Temple and ate therein and desecrated it throughout the seventh and eighth and towards dusk of the ninth they set fire to it and it continued to burn the whole of that day. ... How will the Rabbis then [explain the choice of the 9th as the date]? The beginning of any misfortune [when the fire was set] is of greater moment. | Talmud Ta’anit 29a
Tisha B’Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av (the first by the Babylonians in 586 BC; the second by the Romans in 70 AD).

Although this holiday is primarily meant to commemorate the destruction of the Temple, it is appropriate to consider on this day the many other tragedies of the Jewish people, many of which occurred on this day, most notably the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.1

Tisha B’Av is the culmination of a three week period of increasing mourning, beginning with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, which commemorates the first breach in the walls of Jerusalem, before the First Temple was destroyed. During this three week period, weddings and other parties are not permitted, and people refrain from cutting their hair. From the first to the ninth of Av, it is customary to refrain from eating meat or drinking wine (except on the Shabbat) and from wearing new clothing.

The restrictions on Tisha B’Av are similar to those on Yom Kippur: to refrain from eating and drinking (even water); washing, bathing, shaving or wearing cosmetics; wearing leather shoes; engaging in sexual relations; and studying Torah. Work in the ordinary sense of the word [rather than the Shabbat sense] is also restricted. People who are ill need not fast on this day. Many of the traditional mourning practices are observed: people refrain from smiles, laughter and idle conversation, and sit on low stools.

In synagogue, the book of Lamentations is read and mourning prayers are recited. The ark (cabinet where the Torah is kept) is draped in black.”

So here is a more complete list of significant events on this date in Jewish history and why it is a time of mourning for the nation of Israel:

  • Av 9, 1312 BC - The ten spies brought the bad report leading to the wilderness wandering. See also: 14,000 Days
  • Av 9, 587 BC - Babylonians destroy Solomon’s temple. See also: Ezekiel’s 430 Days
  • Av 9, 70 AD - August 5, 70 Romans destroy 2nd temple. See also: Daniel’s 70 Weeks
  • Av 9, 135 AD - The Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The city of Betar -- the Jews’ last stand against the Romans -- was captured and liquidated. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered.
  • Av 9, 1290 AD - July 25, 1290 Jews forced out of England under King Edward I.
  • Av 9, 1492 AD - August 11, 1492 Jews forced out of Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. (Just before during that same year on August 3, the Messianic Jew, Christopher Colombus, sailed from Spain in search of the New World and hopes for the future.)
  • Av 9, 1914 AD - August 1, 1914 Britain and Russia declare war on Germany and World War I Began (The immediate cause of the war was the June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb citizen of Austria-Hungary and member of the Black Hand. Wikipedia)
  • Av 9, 1942 AD - July 23, 1942 - Treblinka extermination camp opened in occupied Poland, east of Warsaw and deportations from Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp begin. The camp is fitted with two buildings containing 10 gas chambers, each holding 200 persons. Carbon monoxide gas is piped in from engines placed outside the chamber, but Zyklon-B will later be substituted. Bodies are burned in open pits. HistoryPlace
  • Av 9, 2005 AD - August 14, 2005 Starting at midnight, the entry and presence of Israeli citizens in the areas to be evacuated was prohibited under paragraph 22A of the Implementation of the Disengagement Plan Law 2005. Disengagement from the Gaza Strip was completed on August 22, and from northern Samaria on August 23, 2005. Related news articles hereIsrael’s Disengagement Plan: Renewing the peace process