Tuesday, July 16, 2013

“‘AV’servations on Tish B’Av” (9th of Av)

“‘AV’servations on Tish B’Av”
By Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
The Hebrew month of Av is of Babylonian origin and can be found in the Talmud around the 3rd century. It is the 11th month of the civil year and the 5th of the ecclesiastical year.
The Month of Av is best known for, as the Talmud says in Taanit 29a “When we enter [the month of Av] our joy is diminished.” This is due to all the tragic events that occurred in that month to the Hebrew people, especially on the 9th of Av (Tish B’Av), which in ancient times was the happiest day of the year and now is the darkest and saddest day of the whole Hebrew.
The name “Av” means, “Father” and is derived from the root word meaning “to will” or “to desire.” Clearly fathers and THE FATHER (YHWH) suffered anguish on this day. Earthly fathers lost their families, possessions and the physical representations of their faith and THE FATHER had to suffer to the disobedience of His children which caused Him to have to allow such things to happen for the purpose of discipline as promised in Deut. 27-28.
The Month of Av corresponds to the Hebrew Letter “Tet”. It is shaped like and symbolizes a womb, and in Hebrew numerology (Gematria) is equal to the number 9, which in turn corresponds to the 9 months of pregnancy. In the month of Av the 9 months are condensed and concentrated into 9 days, from Rosh Chodesh Av (the yahrtzeit of Aaron the high priest, whose name comes from the word "pregnant") to the 9th of Av, the day, which legend has it is the birthday of Moshiach, but we know this to really be Sukkot.

Av’s Zodiacal Sign is Mazal: Leo - Aryeh
According to: http://www.inner.org/times/av/av.htm “The aryeh symbolizes the super-rational power of Divine will (the meaning of the name Av, as mentioned above). The initial manifestation of G-d's will to destroy (the Temple) was in truth purely for the sake of reconstructing (the Temple with all of its spiritual meaning and significance for Israel and the entire world) for eternity.
In the words of our sages (Yalkut Shimoni, Yermiyahu, 259 ): "The lion [Nevudchanetzar, who is referred to in the Bible as a lion--Yermiyahu 4:7] came on the month of the lion [Av] and destroyed the lion [the Temple, which is referred to in the Bible, especially with regard to the alter, as a lion], in order that the lion [G-d, of Whom is said 'the lion roars, who shall not fear'--Amos 3:8] come on the month of the lion and rebuild the lion."
This secret is also reflected in the numerical value of aryeh. Aryeh in gematria = 216 = gevurah ("might"). Gevurah is the Divine power responsible for tzimtzum (contraction and diminution of Divine light and energy, as is said with regard to the beginning of Av: "When Av enters we diminish in joy" [Mishnah Ta'anit 26:]) and destruction. But 216 = 3 ? 72. 72 = chesed ("lovingkindness"), the Divine power which "builds" all of reality, as is said (Psalms 89:3): "the world is built with [by the power of] chesed." Three times chesed corresponds to the building of all three Temples, who are all contained and find their eternal consummation in the third Temple, to be built speedily in our days by Moshiach. For this reason the aryeh appears to the right, in the place of chesed, in the Divine Chariot (Ezekiel 1:10).”
The Tribe of Israel for the month of Av is Shimon
Shimon comes from the word "to hear," and refers to the sin of the spies on the 9th of Av who caused Israel to hear their evil report of the Land and thus disobey G-d by refusing to take it. We are to work on the spiritual attribute of hearing on this month. We need to hear our sins and repent of them.
“Shimon is the only tribe that Moses did not explicitly bless at the end of the Torah. This was due to his "frustration" with the tribe of Shimon because of their involvement (more than all the other tribes) in the sin of Pe'or (prostitution with foreign women, which resulted in idolatry). The name Shimon divides into two words which spell sham avon, "there is iniquity."-- http://www.inner.org/times/av/av.htm. But also was due to the fact they were eventually absorbed in to the tribe of Judah.
As alluded to before, the sense of the month of Av is, Hearing. Not just to hear, but to hear, understand and obey. That is to hear, understand and obey the Torah.

The body part represented by the month of Av is the Left Kidney, a filter, a time of the year when we need to filter our lives and rid it of any sin which is spiritual toxin, mourn over our condition and then be healed and restored.

Av 9
It is ironic how our nature is bent on recollecting the tragic things in life, and yet it’s so hard it seems to remember the good things that happen to us. Guys have a hard time remembering one of the best day of their life (or it SHOULD be), the day they got married. Wives are always hounding them every year about remembering that special day. Women on the other hand often (purposely albeit) forget their own birthday. How many of us remember or commemorate the day we had our Bar / Bat Mitzvah, or when we came to Messiah? We often have a bad habit about forgetting special, joyous events. Maybe this is why G-d commanded us to celebrate the Feasts He lays out on Leviticus Chapter 23? Yet it is easy, almost too easy it seems for us to remember the bad things in life. The day a loved one died, the day we were told that we have cancer, the day our house burnt down, the day Kennedy was shot, the day the Space Shuttle blew up, the day the twin towers fell, the day that Hurricane Katrina hit.
It is no different with Israel. G-d commands us to celebrate joyous days on our Calendar (Lev 23). Yet we as a Jewish Tradition have added a very tragic day to remember on the Holy Calendar. That is the day of Tish B’Av. You see, God has allowed exceedingly tragic events to occur in Israel's history on the 9th Day of Av. "This day of fasting, known as Tisha Be-Av is a day of mourning and remembrance of Israel's loss of their sacred Temple. It is one of the most historically significant anniversaries in the life of their nation and is commemorated by Jews throughout the world as the tragic day when God withdrew His Presence and they wept as their precious Temple burned to the ground. Throughout Israel's history, the ninth of Av has witnessed eight of the greatest disasters in their nation's history." (Grant Jeffrey, "Armageddon: Appointment With Destiny", p. 72)
Here are a few of the events that occurred on Tish B’Av:
In 423 BCE, the first Holy Temple was destroyed by fire, as Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian troops conquered Jerusalem. Also on this day, the second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. According to the Talmud (Taanit there), the destruction of the Second Temple actually did not occur on the ninth of Av, but it's thematically linked to the fast day (and that the destructive fire began on that date - even if it was consumed the next day). – Aish.com

It is said that the 1st Temple was destroyed on account of Idol Worship, and that the 2nd Temple was destroyed because of lack of brotherly love among Israel.
Tish B'Av has long been a day of calamity for the Jewish people: on this day, during the time of Moses, Jews in the desert accepted the slanderous report of the 12 Spies, resulting in the decree postponing enter to the Land of Israel. Other grave misfortunes throughout Jewish history occurred on the Ninth of Av: The Spanish Inquisition culminated with the expulsion of Jews from Spain on Tish B'Av in 1492. World War I broke out on the eve of Tish B'Av in 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia; German resentment from the war set the stage for the Holocaust. On the eve of Tish B'Av 1942, the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka. Today, Tish B'Av is the Jewish national day of mourning, when we don't eat, drink or bathe. Lights in the synagogue are dimmed, and we read the Book of Lamentations, Jeremiah's poetic lament over the destruction of Jerusalem.
Here are more specifics on some of those events:
“1. Exodus Generation Condemned to Die in Desert (1312 BCE) 
On the Ninth of Av of the year 2449 from creation (1312 BCE), the generation of Jews who came out of Egypt under Moses' leadership 16 months earlier were condemned to die in the desert and the entry into the Land of Israel was delayed for 40 years.
As related in Numbers 14, when the Spies that Moses sent to the Land of Canaan returned with their disheartening report (see "Today in Jewish History " for yesterday, Av 8), the people wept all night -- the night of Av 9th -- proclaiming that they'd rather return to Egypt than attempt to conquer and settle it; G-d decreed that the entire generation will wander in the desert for 40 years until that last of them died out, and that their children, under the leadership of Joshua, will enter the land He promised as Israel's heritage.
This is the first of five national tragedies that occurred on Av 9 listed by the Talmud (Taanit 4:6), due to which the day was designated as a fast day. The other four are: the destruction of the two Temples, the fall of Betar, and the plowing over of Jerusalem. 
2. Holy Temples Destroyed (423 BCE and 69 CE) 
Both the first and second Holy Temples which stood in Jerusalem were destroyed on Av 9: the First Temple by the Babylonians in the year 3338 from creation (423 BCE), and the second by the Romans in 3829 (69 CE).
The Temples' destruction represents the greatest tragedy in Jewish history, for it marks our descent into Galut--the state of physical exile and spiritual displacement in which we still find ourselves today. Thus the Destruction is mourned as a tragedy that affects our lives today, 2,000 years later, no less than the very generation that experienced it first hand.
3. Fall of Betar (133 CE) 
Betar, the last stronghold in the heroic Bar Kochba rebellion, fell to the Romans on the 9th of Av of the year 3893 (133 CE) after a three-year siege. 580,000 Jews died by starvation or the sword, including Bar Kochba, the leader of the rebellion.
4. Expulsion from England (1290) 
The Jews of England were expelled by King Edward I on this date in 1290.
5. The Spanish Expulsion (1492) 
The Jews of Spain were expelled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella on the 9th of Av of 1492, terminating many centuries of flourishing Jewish life in that country.” – Chabad.org
Hebrew Year
Common Year
Historic Event of Tisha B’Av (9th of Av)
Spies return from 40 days in Israel with evil reports of the Land of Israel. Jewish people cry in despair, give up hope of entering the Land of Israel.
Destruction of First Temple by the Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezar. About 100,000 Jews killed during invasion. Exile of remaining tribes in southern kingdom to Babylon and Persia.
Destruction of Second Temple by Romans, under Titus. Over 2,500,000 Jews die as a result of war, famine and disease. Over 1,000,000 Jews exiled to all parts of the Roman Empire. Over 100,000 Jews sold as slaves by Romans. Jews killed and tortured in gladiatorial "games" and pagan celebrations.
Bar Kochba revolt crushed. Betar destroyed - over 100,00 killed.
Turnus Rufus ploughs site of Temple. Romans build pagan city of Aelia Capitolina on site of Jerusalem.


-First Crusade declared by Pope Urban II. 10,000 Jews killed in first month of Crusade. Crusades bring death and destruction to thousands of Jews, totally obliterate many communities in Rhineland and France.
-Talmud Burned
Expulsion of Jews from England, accompanied by pogroms and confiscation of books and property.
Inquisition in Spain and Portugal culminates in the expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula. Families separated, many die by drowning, massive loss of property.
Britain and Russia declare war on Germany. First World War begins. First World War issues unresolved, ultimately causing Second World War and Holocaust. 75% of all Jews in war zones. Jews in armies of all sides - 120,000 Jewish casualties in armies. Over 400 pogroms immediately following war in Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and Russia.
Deportations from Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp begin.
Iraq walks out of talks with Kuwait.


-The deadly bombing the building of the AMIA (the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina) which killed 86 people and wounded some 300 others.
- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon imposed a "National State of Emergency" August 14, and began the forced evacuation of settlements in the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements.

To answer my question above; “Why do we remember tragic events?” Well, in this case, so remember so we won’t be doomed to repeat the cause for these tragedies to occurring… our sins, our falling away from the Torah.
Customs and Traditions of Tish B’Av:
Tisha B'Av becomes known as the Black Fast -- a symbol of all the persecutions endured by Israel, the day of tears predicted way back in the desert. Mourning the destruction of the Temple and the exile of Israel, we abstain from eating and drinking, bathing, the wearing of leather footwear, and marital relations--for the night and day of Av 9 (i.e., from sundown on Av 8 to nightfall on Av 9). It is customary to sit on the floor or a low seat until after mid-day. Torah study is restricted to laws of mourning, passages describing the destruction of the Temple, and the like. The tefillin are worn only during the afternoon Mincha prayers. 
Mourning into Dancing:
Yet the Ninth of Av is also a day of hope. The Talmud relates that Moshiach ("anointed one"--the Messiah), was born at the very moment that the Temple was set aflame and the Galut (Exile) began. [This is in keeping with the teachings of our sages that, "In every generation is born a descendent of Judah who is worthy to become Israel's Moshiach"(Bartinoro on Ruth); "When the time will come, G-d will reveal Himself to him and send him, and then the spirit of Moshiach, which is hidden and secreted on high, will be manifested in him" (Chattam Sofer).]
Now, we as Believers know that Moshiach was born during the Festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles). This is the time in which we build a Sukkah (Tabernacle) and weather permitting, live out in them to commemorate our ancestors living in a similar way while they were in the Wilderness.
John 1 says that the Word (Yeshua the Living Torah) became flesh and “Sukkah-ed” (“Tabernacled”) among us.  
So what are we to make of this tradition of Moshiach being born on Tish B’Av?
Perhaps, just maybe the Third Temple will be finished and dedicated on this day thus heralding the Messianic Age?
“Then shall maidens dance gaily, young men and old alike. I will turn their mourning to joy; I will comfort them and cheer them in their grief.” – Jeremiah 31:13
“Abaye said: Joy will come to us on Tish B’Av, for in the future the Holy One will make that day a holiday, as it is said: “I will turn your mourning to joy.”” – Pesikta Rabbati 28:4
Have an Easy Fast.
--Rabbi Yehudah