Tisha B’Av Rituals and Practices starting Wednesday Night the 29th of July (The ninth of the Hebrew month of Av)
The Date is for mourning the destruction of both Temples, as well as a number of other Jewish tragedies.
Tisha B’Av, the ninth of the month of Av, is a day of mourning for Jews. It is the day Jews remember the destruction of both Temples that once stood in Jerusalem as well as a number of other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over the course of history.
Since this is the date set by our Rabbis for mourning of the Temple, many Temple Mount Advocates, including myself, will be going up to the Temple Mount to help us feel the loss of the Temple. Please contact me if you want to join me.
I will be joining Yehuda Glick, a well known former Member of Knesset. Rabbi Yehuda Glick, is the founder of the Shalom Jerusalem Foundation, dedicated to opening Har HaBayit (The Temple Mount) as a house of prayer for all nations. The Shalom Jerusalem Foundation is the only non-profit in the world actively engaged in cross-party advocacy for increased access to Har HaBayit in the halls of Israel’s Knesset for the Jewish people.
There are certain rules and restrictions when you are Jewish to go up to the Temple Mount. One must wear non-leather shoes, and immerse in a mikvah before ascending the Temple Mount. Because of the situation of the Muslim police on the temple mount that religious objects (including prayer books) are not permitted on the Temple Mount. It is best to leave your wallet and personal items behind, but you are allowed to bring your cell phone, and of course many people have prayers on their cell phone, but you must not pray obviously, or you risk the chance of being arrested.
A three-week mourning period preceding Tisha B’Av began on the 17th day of the month of Tammuz.
According to the Mishnah, this was the day the Romans succeeded in breaching the walls of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.; the Mishnah also mentions other tragic events that occurred on this day in Tammuz. This three-week period leading up to the major fast of Tisha B’Av is called “Bayn Ha-Metsarim“–“in the Straits.” Orthodox Jews do not get married or celebrate other joyous festivities in these three weeks.
Before the Holiday
Nine days prior to Tisha B’Av, a new period of more intense mourning begins. Jews do not eat meat, cut their hair, or wash their clothes unless they are to be worn again during the nine days. All these actions are considered signs of joy or luxury inappropriate for this time of mourning.
The Shabbat immediately preceding the festival is Shabbat Hazon (vision). The name derives from the haftarah (prophetic reading) for the day. Taken from Isaiah 1, the reading describes Isaiah’s vision of national disaster befalling the Israelites because of their sins.
Tisha B’Av cannot be observed on Shabbat, so if the date falls on Shabbat, the festival is postponed until Sunday. On such occasions, there are some small changes to Maariv (the evening service) on Shabbat. Also, during havdalah (the concluding ceremony of Sabbath), the blessing over the wine is postponed until after the fast on Sunday night, though the blessing over the Havdala candle is still said at the close of Shabbat.
The Fast Begins
Tisha B’Av is a full fast day, so the last meal must be eaten before sunset prior to the ninth of Av. This meal marking the boundary between periods of eating and fasting is called the “seudah ha-mafseket.” The meal often is comprised of round foods like eggs or lentils, which symbolize mourning in Jewish tradition because they evoke the cycle of life. Some people eat an egg or bread sprinkled with ashes, and some Jews may sit on the ground during the meal. The Birkat hamazon (grace after meals) (this is not thanks to Amazon for sending you stuff-the joke is Brachat HaAmazon) is said individually and in silence. As I have written several times before, this year because of COVID, as the other biblical fasts have been canceled because of health, so this fast is also cancelled for people over 60 or with health challenges. However, the other parts of the rituals for Tisha B’Av should be kept.
In addition to abstaining from food or drink during Tisha B’Av, Jewish tradition also mandates refraining from wearing leather, engaging in sexual relations, washing one’s body, and using perfume or other such ointments. Visiting cemeteries on this day is encouraged, as if to heighten the sadness.
Uniquely on Tisha B’Av, Torah study, meant to be joyful, is not permitted. Some parts of the Bible or Talmud are allowed, like Job or Jeremiah, or sections of the Talmud or Midrash that discuss the destruction of Jerusalem. In the synagogue, the lights are dimmed and the ornamental parochet (covering) is removed from the ark as a sign of mourning before the evening service. Congregants remove their leather shoes and do not greet each other.
Prayers & Customs
Megillat Eicha (the Scroll of Lamentations)–which is a lament for the destruction of the First Temple — is chanted during the Maariv service, along with several kinot, elegies, or dirges were written at different periods of Jewish history. The kinot speak of the suffering and pain of Jewish tragedy through the ages. An extended set of kinot are traditionally recited during the morning service, and some communities repeat the chanting of Eicha in the morning as well. The traditional Torah reading is Deuteronomy 4:25-40 and the Haftarah is Jeremiah 8:13-9:23, which is chanted to the same tune as Lamentations the night before. This year again, many people will not be in the synagogue and will pray at home or at outdoor minyans.
Tallit (prayer shawl) and tefillin (phylacteries), which are usually worn during morning services, are instead worn during Minchah (the afternoon service). During Mincha, prayers that were omitted in the morning are recited. The Torah and Haftarah are the same as on other public fasts.
The meal ending the fast traditionally omits meat and wine, in acknowledgment of the fact that the burning of the Temple continued until the next day. Finally, the sorrow that began on the 17th of Tammuz comes to a halt and the Shabbat immediately following Tishah B’Av is called Shabbat Nahamu (Shabbat of comfort) because the Haftarah begins with the words “nahamu nahamu ami” (“Comfort, comfort my people”). This begins a period of consolation and comfort leading up to Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
For the first time, we have two classes of people. Those under 60 and those over. The disease attacks those over 60 and those with pre-existing conditions so the two classes of people must behave differently.
Fasting. It just makes common sense that not eating or especially not drinking on a hot day (both are part of a Jewish fast by Jewish law as opposed to fasting in the general sense of the term) would reduce your resistance to a virus or germs. There are six fasts in a Jewish calendar year. Five are of Rabbinic origin and one is mandated by the Torah. In Orthodox Judaism today, we practice what is called Rabbinic Judaism, so that the Rabbis fasts are just as important as Yom Kippur in terms of stringencies.
The difference is that since the Rabbis created these fasts, they can also regulate how stringent they are. There is a general rule that for Rabbinic regulations you can be quite lenient as they are considered extra mitzvahs to be able to get close to G-d. And since the most important mitzvah is the preservation of life, it makes sense to limit these fasts. All of the other 5 besides Yom Kippur are Rabbinic and this includes Tis A’bov, although people think it is holier than the other 4 but it is not. It is called the Black Fast.
In a previous post I have written about the general rules about fasting as agreed to by a majority of Orthodox Rabbis (In Judaism although we welcome every opinion, we go according to the majority in general).
Jews are said to be Hard Headed and stiff necked according to the Bible
Little Rivkah Saltzman, the Rabbi’s daughter, ran into the house, crying as though her heart would break.
“What’s wrong, dear?” asked the Rabbi.
“My doll! Moishie broke it!” she sobbed.
“How did he break it, Rivkah?”
“I hit him over the head with it.”
Is COVID19 a new Jewish holiday?
I DON’T KNOW WHICH YOM TOV IT IS SO IT MUST BE A NEW JEWISH HOLIDAY.
WE’RE WALKING AROUND IN SLIPPERS LIKE IT’S TISHA B’AV. We have to do all of the other Black fast day (prayer, mourn the temple, etc.–see another article on my blog–but we aren’t fasting this year if we are over 60 or medically challenged )