This year Tish B’Av falls during the month of August. This is a day of mourning to commemorate many historic tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. While it is hard to call this a holiday, by the traditional meaning of the word, it is . . . a holy day to remember primarily the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem.
It is a day of fasting and is the culmination of a three week period of time that begins with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, which commemorates the first breach of the wall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.
Tish B’Av literally means the 9th day of the month of Av, which falls this year on the 13th day of August. Though not observed by most Jews, it is considered the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, and believed by many to be destined to be a day of tragedy. Interestingly, on the 9th day of Av, many calamities have occurred. The first of which, according to Rabbinic tradition is the night the people cried out after having received the spies report about Canaan in Numbers 13–14. Because of the lack of faith the people showed that night, God decreed that the 9th of Av would become a day of mourning and tragedy for all their descendants.
And that date has certainly been a date of mourning. On the 9th of Av, 3175 (587 BC), the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and burned through the night until the 10th of Av. On the 9th of Av 3830 (70 AD), the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans. On the 9th of Av 3892 (135 AD), the Bar Kochba Rebellion was crushed and the Temple site in Jerusalem was subsequently plowed under by the Romans. So, during the 9th of Av, Lamentations is read as the people lament the destruction of the Temple.
But there is more. On the 9th of Av 5050 (1290 AD) the Jews were expelled from England; on the 9th of Av 5066 (1306 AD) the Jews were expelled from France; on the 9th of Av 5674 (1914) Germany entered WWI, which ultimately led to the Holocaust; on the 9th of Av 5701 (1941), Himmler received approval for the “Final Solution;” and on the 9th of Av 5702 (1942 AD), began the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka. There is so much more that happened during this time on the 7th and the 10th but you get the idea. This time of year is a calamitous time for the Jewish people, all beginning with a lack of faith.
We received a note the other day from someone passing by our building. Anonymously, they wrote: “You people are an abomination. How dare you defile Judaism? If you believe Jesus was the son of god (sic), you are a Christian! Leave us out of it! As a Jew, I find you offensive.” It is so sad. They are expressing their anger, distrust, and fear, and I wrote my own note expressing the love of Jesus, and encouraging them to not allow culture and history to keep them so unfaithful that they would not see God’s consolation where God “will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress” (Isaiah 65:19). Isaiah 64 and 66 are the “little Bible’s” Revelation, and all the Law and the Prophets testify to Him who brings such consolation, Jesus. Pray they come and see to the end that they might believe in Him.