August, the eighth month is here! Statistically, August is the warmest and most humid month of the year! As summer is half over families begin shopping for school cloths and supplies! August is also the month of our highly acclaimed Youth Service (August 12th), where our youth run the entire service! August marks the beginning of harvest, and the Fall Feast celebrations are just around the corner! For those who weren’t aware August is national Panini month, national Peach month, and national Sandwich month! Who knew? The first Friday of August, August 5th is International Beer Day. I started with a more upbeat, joyful tone because in August we also commemorate Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the biblical month of Av, not a good day in Jewish history.
This year, the 9th of Av, Tisha B’Av 5782 begins at sunset, August 6th through sunset August 7th 2022. Av is the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar which falls in July/August on the Gregorian calendar. The 9th of Av has become a day of fasting and mourning by Orthodox Jews in Israel due to numerous, national catastrophic events that have occurred against Israel and our people on this day through the span of History. The focus of this day is the destruction of both Solomon’s Temple and Herod’s Temple accompanied the expulsion of our people from our Promised Land into Exile or Diaspora.
The First Temple was built by King Solomon and the united Kingdom of Israel and Judah in Jerusalem about the 10th century BCE. The description of its building is found in I Kings chapters 6-8. It stood for about 410 years until it was destroyed when Jerusalem was laid siege by the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE on the 9th of Av.
After the prophesied 70-year Babylonian exile, our Jewish people returned to Jerusalem. Under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Second Temple and Jerusalem was rebuilt. This Temple stood about 420 years until it was destroyed by the Romans in August 70 CE on the 9th of Av.
Besides both Temples being destroyed on this same exact day, numerous other historical events happened to our Jewish people and Israel on the 9th of Av that continue to keep this a somber day for our people. I’ll list them in chronological order. On Tisha B’Av, five national calamities occurred:
• During the time of Moses, Jews in the desert accepted the slanderous report of the 10 Spies, and the decree was issued forbidding them from entering the Land of Israel. (1312 BCE)
• The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more exiled. (586 BCE)
• The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, led by Titus. Some two million Jews died, and another one million were exiled. (70 CE)
• The Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The city of Betar — the Jews’ last stand against the Romans — was captured and liquidated. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered. (135 CE)
• The Temple area and its surroundings were plowed under by the Roman general Turnus Rufus. Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city — renamed Aelia Capitolina — and access was forbidden to Jews.
And the calamities continued in the diaspora.
• The First Crusade destroyed hundreds of French and Rhineland Jewish communities murdering some 1.2 million Jews. The First Crusade, which murdered 10,000 Jews in the first month, began on August 15, 1096, the 9th of Av.
• We were expelled from England, accompanied by pogroms and confiscation of books and property on July 18, 1290, the 9th of Av.
• We were expelled from France on July 22, 1306, the 9th of Av.
• On March 31, 1492, Queen Isabella along with her husband, Ferdinand, ordered the Jewish people banished from all areas of greater Spain. The edict was signed on March 31, 1492 and the Jews were given four months to leave the country. There was a massive loss of property, families became separated, and many died by drowning. The final day Jews could live in Spain, thus beginning the Spanish Inquisitions, was July 31, 1492, the 9th of Av.
• World War I began when Germany declared war on Russia. This war began a massive socio-economic upheaval in Europe that concluded with the Holocaust and World War II. World War I began on August 1-2, 1914, the 9th of Av.
• SS Commander Heinrich Himmler received approval for “The Final Solution” which resulted in the Holocaust and murder of six million of our Jewish people, nearly ⅓ of the world’s Jewish population. It was approved on August 2, 1941, the 9th of Av.
• The mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp began on July 23, 1942, the 9th of Av.
• Iraq walks out of talks with Kuwait setting the stage for the Gulf War on the 9th of Av 1989.
• The deadly bombing the AMIA (the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina) building which killed 86 people and wounded some 300 others was on the 9th of Av 1994
• Gush Katif was a group of Jewish settlements in Gaza with 8,600 residents. It was known for it’s unique greenhouses that exported more than $200,000,000 in bug-free fruits and vegetables to Europe and the Majority of our Esrog’s Lulav sets. For peace with Gaza, all Jewish settlements in Gush Katif were evacuated on August 13, 2005, the 9th of Av. This land for peace deal was brokered by the United States of America who 10 days later (10 is Yad, the hand of God) when we were struck by the most powerful hurricane every recorded up to that time, Katrina made landfall August 29th. Katrina was followed by an even stronger Hurricane Rita and Wilma, three of the largest hurricanes ever recorded strikes the United States in the same year.
There’s more but you get the point! Historically the 9th of Av is not a good day for us as a people or as a nation! Focusing on and praying over these events is meant to help us conquer the spiritual deficiencies, idolatry, and sin which brought about these tragic events.
The story is told of Napoleon walking through the streets of Paris one Tisha B’Av. As his passed a synagogue he heard the sounds of mourning and crying. “What’s this all about?” Napoleon asked. An aide explained that the Jews were in mourning over the loss of their Temple. “When did this happen?” Napoleon asked. The aide replied, “About 1700 years ago.” Napoleon said, “Certainly a people which has mourned the loss of their Temple for so long, will merit to see it rebuilt!”
As we remember Tisha B’Av this year let us not focus upon the calamities, rather let’s pray and fast for the revival of Israel, both the land and the people! Their salvation will result in all Israel declaring “Baruch Haba B’Shem Adonai”, “`Blessed is he who comes in the name of ADONAI.'” Let this day be turned from sorrow and lamenting to one of joy and dancing as we witness Israel’s salvation! Then we’ll experience the New Jerusalem and the real Temple descending from heaven and be established here for Yeshua’s reign!