This entire period is one that takes on a somber tone, prayer, soul searching and fasting. In addition to the days of fasting, marking the beginning and the end of the period, in their synagogues, on the 9th of Av, the Jewish people read the Book of Lamentations, followed by the recitation of the kinnot, a liturgical lament which today, mourns the destruction of Jerusalem; both Temples, and the six million Jewish men, women, and children who perished in the Nazi Holocaust of WW II.
There are five major calamities that overtook the Jewish people that are remembered on the 9th of Av:
1 The Twelve Spies sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan returned from their mission. Only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, brought a positive report, while the others spoke disparagingly about the land. The majority report caused the Children of Israel to cry, panic and despair of ever entering the “Promised Land”. For this, they were punished by the God of Israel so that none of their generation would enter the land of Israel. (See Numbers 13-14)
2 The First Temple built by King Solomon, King over the Kingdom of Judah, destroyed by the Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE, after a two-year siege the Israelites were sent into the Babylonian exile for 70 years.
3 The Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah was destroyed by the Romans in August 70 CE, scattering the people of Judea and commencing the Jewish exile from the Holy Land.
4 The Romans subsequently crushed the final revolt by the Jewish people called the Bar Kokhba’s revolt. The Romans destroyed the city of Betar, killing over 500,000 Jewish civilians on August 4, 135 CE, the 9th of Av.
5 Following the Bar Kokhba revolt, Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed under the entire site of the Temple in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, in 135 CE.
Other calamities associated with Tisha B’Av: dates given according to the Gregorian Calendar
• The First Crusade officially commenced on August 15, 1096, killing 10,000 Jews in its first month and destroying Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland.
• The Jews were expelled from England on July 18, 1290.
• The Jews were expelled from France on July 22, 1306 .
• The Jews were expelled from Spain on July 31, 1492.
• Germany entered World War I on August 1–2, 1914, which caused massive upheaval in European Jewry and whose aftermath led to the Holocaust.
• On August 2, 1941, SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for “The Final Solution.” As a result, the Holocaust began during which almost one third of the world’s Jewish population six million men, women, and children, perished.
• On July 23, 1942, began the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.
• Most religious communities use Tisha B’Av to mourn the 6,000,000 Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
On the 10th of Av the following events took place:
• AMIA bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 and injuring 300 on 18 July 1994.
• The Israeli disengagement from Gaza, initially scheduled to start on the the 9th Av was delayed a day to start instead on the 10th Av, 15 August 2005, expelling 8000 Jews who lived in Gush Katif.
BLESSINGS AND CURSINGS
“I will bless those who bless you, (the son’s of Abraham, the Jewish People), And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
It is interesting to note the accuracy of this prophetic word given to Abraham regarding the fate of those who bless and to those who curse the Jewish people and nation throughout human history.
Where are the Babylonians and the Babylonian empire today? Where is the mighty Roman empire today? What events are taking place today in France as it reels under the continuous attacks from radical Islam? Where is mighty Spanish Empire today? Where is Hitler’s mighty Third Reich? Where is the mighty British Empire today?
All of these once mighty empires rest in the ashes of human history. Why? Because of the “Blessings and Curses,” declared in Genesis 12:3!
The Jewish people have been afflicted by horrendous calamities for their unbelief, sins, iniquities, and turning away from the God of Israel.
God spoke plainly to them in Scriptures declaring, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.” Zechariah 1:3-4
The Lord God of Israel is waiting for the leaders of Israel and the Jewish people to turn from their evil ways, and to return fully to Him with all their hearts.
For the day is coming declares the Lord God of Israel:
I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL
Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34