July 30, 2009, - 12:28 pm
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). 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 food part isn’t the big deal, since I don’t eat much during the summer. It’s the water part (and not being able to eat fruit) that’s tough. I’m very thirsty and daydreaming about some unsweetened iced tea, a Diet Coke, or just some bottled water.
(Graphic from Not Quite Perfect blog in 2007)
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.
Tags: Fasting, Jewish Holidays, Jewish Temple, Tisha B'Av