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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fearful and Awesome 9th of Av Ushered in Evening of August 8th

Nadene Goldfoot
Monday evening in the year of 5771 (2011) will usher in the most terrible of all dates in Jewish history and one wonders how all these horrible things could have happened on this one date. 

Israel's First and Second Temples both fell on this date in the Jewish calendar.  This happened on 586 BCE caused by the Babylonians and then again on 70 CE by the Romans.  "The Temple itself was totally destroyed, though the wall supporting the area upon which the Temple was built was left partially intact and a portion of it remains to this day, called the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall."

Jews remember this date with fasting, praying and withdrawal from any activity that is enjoyable.  It is truly a mourning period of 25 hours.   

A revolt against the Romans occured in 135 CE on the 9th of Av by Simon Bar Kochba.  It was after this that the Romans tried to stamp out the Jewish identity by laying the country to waste.  Hadrian ordered Jerusalem to be plowed over and was renamed Aelia Capitolina.  The name "Judea" was renamed Syria Palestina.  The Roman Empire faced the longest and fiercest revolt they ever had been in.  580,000 Jewish soldiers died in battle then.   The civilians died of starvation and pestilence.  985 Jewish  villages were destroyed.    Jews remaining were banished from Jerusalem, so they  went to the Galilee. 

 Later,  refugees returned.  Jews who had been sold into slavery were redeemed by others.  The creative spirit of Jews blossomed forth once again with the Mishnah being completed and the Jerusalem Talmud was compiled.  Most of the people farmed the land. 

This misfortune happening on 9th Av started with the 12 spies that Moses sent into Canaan.  Only Joshua and Caleb  gave a favorable report.  The others spoke unfavorably about the land causing the charges on the Exodus to cry, panic and bewail having entered in the first place.  Because of their lack of faith, the decree was that this date would become one of misfortune for their descendants. 

It is also said that a Moshiach "Messiah" was also born on the 9th of Av in every generation since the fall of the temple, and that when the time is right, he will appear. 

On 1290 CE, King Edward I caused the expulsion of all Jews from England on this very date.  In 1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella caused the expulsion of Jews from Spain on this same date.  Whatever bad has happened seems to fall on the 9th of Av. 

Other tragedies that fell on 9th Ave were the First Crusade in 1095 which killed 10,000 Jews in its first month and destroyed Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland.  On August 1, 1914 (Tisha B'Av) World War I started which set the stage for World War II and the Holocaust.   On 1942's 9th Av eve, mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto on route to Treblinka.   On Monday, July 18, 1994, the 10th of Av or the end of this period, the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires was bombed and 86 were killed with 300 wounded.   The soothsayer said to Caesar, "Beware the Ides of March." and Jews have said, Beware the 9th of Av. 

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