The Three Weeks: Jews enter period of mourning for Temples, history

Temple Jerusalem model

A model of the temple in Jerusalem. Photo by gkadey, courtesy of Pixabay

SUNSET SATURDAY, JULY 20: A solemn period—including a time of fasting—begins for Jews around the world tonight, in a tradition known as “the Three Weeks.” Beginning on the 17th of the month of Tammuz and ending on Tisha B’Av, Jews lament the destruction of the First and Second Temples and the historical misfortunes of the Jewish people. Each day is met with a higher degree of lamentation than the last (with the exception of Shabbat). There is also great hope, however, in this time of sadness: As the past and present are examined, Jews look to the future.

During the Three Weeks, observant Jews refrain from holding weddings, listening to music, celebrating in public, embarking on trips, having hair cut or shaved, and wearing new clothing. Learn more from Aish.com. A fast is undertaken on the 17th of Tammuz and on the Ninth of Av. (For guides, stories, multimedia and more, visit Chabad.org.) The period is known as “within the straits,” from the Book of Lamentations.

According to traditional texts: The Three Weeks encompasses the days when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans and both Temples were destroyed. The holy Temple that had stood in Jerusalem for 830 years was destroyed. This is also a period when Jews recall Moses breaking the original Ten Commandments.

During this three-week period, Jews try to increase good deeds and charitable works, while intensifying Torah study.

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Tisha B’Av: Jews recall tragic events on annual day of mourning with a 25-hour fast

Stack of books with cloth on top

A traditional Jewish Tallit and several Hebrew texts. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNSET SATURDAY, JULY 21: Three weeks of reflection has prepared men and women for this, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar: the Ninth of Av, known as Tisha B’Av. Observant Jews who are healthy enough to undertake the 25-hour fast will follow five traditional prohibitions: No eating or drinking; no bathing; no use of creams or oils; no leather shoes; no marital relations. The final meal consumed before the start of the Tisha B’Av fast traditionally consists of a hard boiled egg and a piece of bread, dipped into ashes.

The desolate tone of Tisha B’Av is in recollection of the many tragedies that befell the Jewish people on the Ninth of Av—including, most prominently, the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. The ark—the cabinet where the Torah is kept, in the synagogue—is draped in black; the book of Lamentations may be read.

MOURNING: FEELING GRIEF AFTER MILLENNIA

Today, the observance of Tisha B’Av gets mixed response, as modern-day Jewish families balance the demands of contemporary life with this call from the past.

Author Debra Darvick wrote in a column: “Tisha B’Av, a Jewish day of mourning that falls during the summer, marks the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. … I have attended services sporadically, more out of a sense of responsibility than any feeling of true mourning. How do I mourn something absent from Jewish experience for nearly two millennia?” (Debra also wrote about the holiday for her book, This Jewish Life.)

A MULTITUDE OF MEMORIES

Historically, the First Temple was destroyed on 9 Av 586 BCE; the Second, on 9 Av 70 CE. The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians; the Second Temple, by the Romans. According to Jewish tradition, 9 Av is associated with other tragic milestones, as well, which have been added to this annual day of remembrance.

Also on 9 Av: The Romans quashed Bar Kokhba’s revolt and destroyed the city of Betar, killing more than 500,000 Jewish civilians; Jews were expelled from England in 1290 CE; Germany entered World War I, the aftermath of which led to the Holocaust; and SS commander Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for “The Final Solution.”

NEWS 2018

Israelis clash over restaurant and entertainment closures on Tisha B’Av: The chairman of the Jewish Home faction in Tel Aviv and the owner of a pizzeria, disagreed the request to close restaurants and entertainment venues on Tisha B’Av, as they are already closed on Shabbat and Yom Kippur. Read the story from the Israeli National News.

Modern-day mourning: world hunger and environmental crises: A writer from the Arizona Jewish Post relates Tisha B’Av mourning to something relevant to today: world hunger and the environmental crisis. Read the story here.

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The Three Weeks: Jews lament and fast ‘between the straits’

Portrayal of white temple

Herod’s Temple as imagined in the Holyland Model of Jerusalem, at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. During the Three Weeks, Jews mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNSET SATURDAY, JUNE 29: Beginning on the 17th of the month of Tammuz, and ending on Tisha B’Av, Jews lament the destruction of the First and Second Temples and historical misfortunes of the Jewish people: A solemn period, including a time of fasting, begins for Jews around the world in a tradition known as “the Three Weeks.” Each day is met with a higher degree of lamentation than the last with the exception of Shabbat. There is also great hope, however, in this time of sadness: As the past and present are examined, Jews look to the future.

During the Three Weeks, traditionally observant Jews refrain from holding weddings, listening to music, celebrating in public, embarking on trips, having hair cut or shaved, and wearing new clothing. Learn more from Aish.com. A fast is undertaken on the 17th of Tammuz and on the Ninth of Av. (For guides, stories, multimedia and more, visit Chabad.org.) The period is known as “within the straits,” or “between the straits,” from the Book of Lamentations.

A TIME TO STUDY TORAH, DO GOOD

According to traditional texts: The Three Weeks encompasses the days when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans and both Temples were destroyed. The holy Temple that had stood in Jerusalem for 830 years was destroyed. This is also a period when Jews recall Moses breaking the original Ten Commandments.

During this three-week period, Jews try to increase good deeds and charitable works, while intensifying Torah study.

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Tisha B’Av: Fasting on an ancient day of lamentation

The Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, sunny day, pilgrims at wall

The Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNSET MONDAY, JULY 31: On the annual Jewish milestone of Tisha B’Av (the Ninth of Av), men and women traditionally fast for 25 hours, refrain from bathing, set aside pleasurable activities and focus on communal lament.

But the observance gets mixed response as modern-day Jewish families balance the demands of contemporary life with this call from the past.

Author Debra Darvick wrote in an earlier column: “Tisha B’Av, a Jewish day of mourning that falls during the summer, marks the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. … I have attended services sporadically, more out of a sense of responsibility than any feeling of true mourning. How do I mourn something absent from Jewish experience for nearly two millennia?”

Debra also wrote about the holiday for her book This Jewish Life.

A CASCADE OF MEMORIES

Historically, the First Temple was destroyed on 9 Av 586 BCE; the Second, on 9 Av 70 CE. (Wikipedia has details). The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians; the Second Temple, by the Romans. According to Jewish tradition, 9 Av is associated with other tragic milestones, as well, which have been added to this annual day of remembrance.

Also on 9 Av: The Romans quashed Bar Kokhba’s revolt and destroyed the city of Betar, killing more than 500,000 Jewish civilians; Jews were expelled from England in 1290 CE; Germany entered World War I, the aftermath of which led to the Holocaust; and SS commander Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for “The Final Solution.”

2017: PAINFUL DISAGREEMENT

This year, as the holiday approaches, Jewish newspapers and magazines around the world are covering a current, painful disagreement concerning the Western Wall (or Kotel)—a remnant of the Temple Mount that is a spiritual focus for Jews around the world. A recent decision by the Israeli government places even more authority in the hands of what are often described as “ultra-Orthodox” rabbis in Israel—rejecting the widespread hopes of American Jews for more inclusive access to the Wall, among other issues.

Care to read more? Here is recent coverage in The Jerusalem Post, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, and The Jewish WeekFor a sampling of regional Jewish media across the U.S., check out The Jewish News of Northern California, or New Jersey Jewish News.

 

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The Three Weeks: Jews enter period of mourning for the Temples

Overhead view of people gathered at Western Wall, and in Jerusalem

Today, Jews gather at the Western Wall in anticipation of the day the Temple will be restored. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNSET SATURDAY, JULY 4: A solemn period including a time of fasting begins for Jews around the world tonight in a tradition known as: “the Three Weeks.” Beginning on the 17th of the month of Tammuz, and ending on Tisha B’Av, Jews lament the destruction of the First and Second Temples and historical misfortunes of the Jewish people. Each day is met with a higher degree of lamentation than the last with the exception of Shabbat. There is also great hope, however, in this time of sadness: As the past and present are examined, Jews look to the future.

During the Three Weeks, observant Jews refrain from holding weddings, listening to music, celebrating in public, embarking on trips, having hair cut or shaved, and wearing new clothing. Learn more from Aish.com. A fast is undertaken on the 17th of Tammuz and on the Ninth of Av. (For guides, stories, multimedia and more, visit Chabad.org.) The period is known as “within the straits,” from the Book of Lamentations.

According to traditional texts: The Three Weeks encompasses the days when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans and both Temples were destroyed. The holy Temple that had stood in Jerusalem for 830 years was destroyed. This is also a period when Jews recall Moses breaking the original Ten Commandments. (Wikipedia has details.)

During this three-week period, Jews try to increase good deeds and charitable works, while intensifying Torah study.

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Categories: Jewish

Tisha B’Av: Jews mourn on Ninth of Av, saddest day of the year

Great wall of angular stones, Western Wall, with line of Jews in front, in prayer and conversation

Jews gather at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a remnant of the wall encircling the Second Temple. Tisha B’Av mourns the loss of the First and Second Temples. Photo courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

SUNSET MONDAY, AUGUST 4: Three weeks of reflection prepares men and women for this, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar: the Ninth of Av, known as Tisha B’Av.

Observant Jews who are healthy enough to undertake the 25-hour fast will follow five traditional prohibitions: No eating or drinking; no bathing; no use of creams or oils; no leather shoes; no marital relations. (Judaism 101 has more.)

The desolate tone of Tisha B’Av is in recollection of the many tragedies that befell the Jewish people on the Ninth of Av—including, most prominently, the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Many Jews can be found, today, sitting on low stools and reading the Book of Lamentations. The ark—the cabinet where the Torah is kept, in the synagogue—is draped in black. The final meal consumed before the start of the Tisha B’Av fast traditionally consists of a hard boiled egg and a piece of bread, dipped into ashes. (Learn more, and find additional resources, at Chabad.org.)

THE NINTH OF AV
THEN AND NOW

Author and columnist Debra Darvick writes about Tisha B’Av in this short section from her book This Jewish Life. Then, in a column a year ago, Debra also wrote about the contemporary challenge many Jewish men and women face in summoning a proper response to events that happened so many centuries in the past.

Interested in how to relate to Tisha B’Av in modern times, amid current events? Check out the articles from Jewish Journal and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Tisha B’Av: Fast, mourn and contemplate a kinnot for Jewish tragedies

Black-and-white photo of crowd of Jews at Western Wall

Jews gather at the Western Wall on Tisha B’Av, to mourn the destruction of the two ancient Temples. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNSET MONDAY, JULY 15: Jewish communities around the world are fasting on what author Debra Darvick calls “the most somber day in Jewish history.”

You can read Debra Darvick’s short introduction to the holiday from her book This Jewish Life. Plus, Debra also has written a new Tisha B’Av column for 2013, focusing on how men and women today can approach this ancient observance. In her column, Debra writes in part: “Tisha B’Av, a Jewish day of mourning that falls during the summer, marks the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. This year it begins Monday evening, July 15, and concludes sunset on Tuesday, July 16. I have attended services sporadically, more out of a sense of responsibility than any feeling of true mourning. How do I mourn something absent from Jewish experience for nearly two millennia?”

TISHA B’AV:
MOURNING FROM NIGHTFALL TO SUNSET

As the countdown to sunset begins, some Jews sit on low stools for the final meal before commencement of the fast. Nightfall arrives with the use of candles, dim lighting and the reading of the Book of Lamentations in the synagogue. (Read more from Judaism 101.) Later that evening, some sleep on the floor or with no pillow. The morning of Tisha B’Av begins with no greetings, no smiles and an aura of mourning, as Jews make their way to the synagogue for chanting and the reading of kinnot (liturgical lamentations). Though the fast officially ends at sunset, other mourning customs may continue, reflecting traditions that tell of the Temple’s continuous burning throughout the night and for most of the following day—the 10th of Av. (Find interactive materials and articles at Aish.com and Chabad.org.)

TISHA B’AV 2013:
A JERUSALEM MARCH AND KINNOT WEBCASTS

Tisha B’Av in Jerusalem means a march around the walls of the Old City. This year, ceremonies will begin with a reading from the Book of Lamentations. (Check out the story here.) Jews worldwide struggling to interpret ancient kinnot—elegies written on tragedies of Jewish history, most of which were composed between the 6th and 10th centuries—help is offered by the Orthodox Union, in the form of live and on-demand webcasts. (Read more from the Israel National News.)

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