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Monday, August 04, 2014

Tisha b'Av 5774

Monday night and Tuesday are Tisha b'Av, the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.

Five tragedies befell the Jewish people on Tisha b'Av in ancient times, the two most important of which were the destruction of the two Holy Temples:

- It was decreed that the generation which left Egypt would remain in the desert for 40 years and not enter the land of Israel, after believing the inaccurate report of 10 of the 12 spies in the year 2449 (the current Jewish year is 5774).

- The first Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple) was destroyed on 9 B'Av in the year 3339.

- The second Bet Hamikdash (Holy Temple) was destroyed on 9 B'Av about 1944 years ago.

- The city of Betar was captured and tens of thousands of Jews were killed in the year 3893.

- The wicked Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Bet Hamikdash and its surroundings and renamed it Aelia Capitolina, also in the year 3893.

Since these tragedies occurred on 9 B'Av, it was decreed as a day of fasting and mourning.

Other tragedies that happened on 9 b'Av include:

- 4,000 Jews were expelled from England by King Edward I in the year 5050 (18 July 1290)

- 300,000 Jews were expelled from Spain by Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon in the year 5252 (2 August 1492)

- Word War 1 started in 5674 - 1 August 1914 - with Germany declaring war on Russia

- The Jews of Gaza were to have been expelled from their homes on Tisha b'Av nine years ago, but the Israeli government postponed the expulsion for a day in an effort to avoid making this list.

You can find out more about Tisha b'Av, including online audio and visual programs and a live webcast, for which you can register here.

Posting tonight and on Tuesday (especially early in the day) may be a little lighter than usual. I don't fast well, and must sleep tonight or I will get caffeine addiction headaches.

For those of you who are fasting, have an easy and meaningful fast, and may this day be a holiday next year instead of a day of mourning.

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