July 20, 2010, - 11:14 am
Today is the Jewish fast day of “Tisha B’Av,” which means the Ninth of Av (a month on the Jewish calendar).
It marks the destruction of the Jewish Temple–both of them and many other tragedies in Jewish history, which all occurred on this day in the Jewish calendar. Tisha B’Av 1914 (August 1, 1914) was the day World War I broke out, setting the stage for World War II and the Holocaust. On the eve of Tisha B’Av 1942, the Nazis’ mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto began. Most were sent to their deaths at the Treblinka Nazi death camp. Just after Tishah B’Av 1994 concluded, Hezbollah and Iran bombed the Jewish community center of Buenos Aires (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina), Argentina, killing 86 and wounding at least 300 others.
(Graphic from Not Quite Perfect blog in 2007)
I’ve been fasting since sundown last night, and the fast ends tonight at nightfall. It ends up being just under 25 hours of no food or liquid. The no food part isn’t the big deal, since I’m not from the big eaters, especially during the summer. It’s the no liquid part (and not being able to eat fruit) that’s tough. On fast days–especially this one, in the midst of the hot summer–I ultimately get very thirsty and wish I could drink just some water or unsweetened tea. A 7-Eleven Slurpee would definitely hit the spot, right now.
To all of my Jewish friends and readers who are observing the fast, have an easy one. To my Gentile friends and readers, here’s some more on the holiday from a previous post of mine about the fast day:
On this day, both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed. Five major tragedies happened to the Jewish people on this day, so we take the day to remember and mourn those and all the tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people. On Tisha B’Av in 1492, the Jews were officially expelled from Spain, for example. It actually is the end of three weeks of mourning and deprivation begun by another fast day. . . .
Jewish fasts mean absolutely no eating, drinking, bathing (no showers), shaving, haircuts, laundry, washing, swimming, make-up wearing, sex, wearing of leather shoes, music, or entertainment. . . . (We usually eat a bigger meal before the fast, which makes it harder because it expands your stomach, though that’s generally required for the Yom Kippur fast and not this one.) Also hard, since I’m a lip balm fanatic to remember not to constantly apply it, since I have tubes of the stuff in every room. It’s the breaking of habits and remembering to reflect that is part of the purpose of the day.
In 1942, many American Catholic priests and Christian ministers participated in the holiday, fasting along with their Jewish-American friends. It was reported in TIME Magazine. And I wrote about it here.
So,today, keep in mind that while I write posts for the site, I’m in the midst of a fast. In fact, the fast means a lot to me, as we endure Barack Obama, the impending threat of a nuclear Iran, and repeated, escalating attacks on Jews by Muslim all over the world. It is also meaningful with the escalating attacks on and within Israel by Islamic terrorists and the increasing world pressure for Israel to further amputate parts of itself and give up trying to secure its shores by engaging and stopping HAMAS flotillas, etc.
Hopefully, G-d is listening.
Tags: Destruction of the Jewish Temple, fast, Fasting, Jewish, Jewish fast, Jewish fast day, Jewish Holidays, Jewish observances, Jewish Temple, Ninth of Av, Tisha B'Av