Monday, August 4, 2014

Tisha Be’Av 5774, 100 years passed, and far more centuries

Tisha Be’Av 5774, 100 years passed, and far more centuries

Western Wall and Entrance to the Anastasis
Western Wall and Entrance to the Anastasis

Tisha be'Av/ט' באב (מנחם) - The Ninth of the Month Av

This day is so special for Jerusalem, I mean all the inhabitants of
Jerusalem. The Orthodox Church walks ahead of the commemoration of the
Prophets Elijah, Elisha and Ezekiel who had a special relation to
"vision, envisioning" times and delays. The Church of Jerusalem and the
Eastern & Oriental rites will also celebrate toward the end of
August the feasts of Mary (Mother of Jesus of Nazareth) and the Cross.

Tisha Be'Av put a specia lmilestone in the development of history. It
first refers to the destruction of the two Temples of Jerusalem: a) in
586 BC/BCE when the Babylonians destroyed the Temple and deported the
Jews to Babylon. b) In 70 AD, the Romans totally destroyed and burnt the
Mikdash/ the Holy Temple to the full.

Volens nolens, both Jews and Christians in our days live on this event.
It took time for the Christians to elaborate a real and substantial
theology that linked the destruction of the Temple to the resurrection
of Jesus as he told in advance (John 2:19 & Matthew 26:31).

On the other hand, the destruction of the "Temple-House of prayer for
all the nations" did not destroy the Jewish community. As the tradition
teaches, times and delays happen with regards to the way people were
behaving in their service of the Lord. It is said that the first Temple
has been destroyed because of the way the "servants" were acting with
rational hatred, while the second Temple came to be erased because of
their irrational hatred. It means that the Jewish community is aware and
this is the question for the day, that sin grew too far and led to

In return, it is known that when Yohanan Ben Zakkai saw the foxes coming
out from the Holy of Holies (Devir/דביר) he burst into laughters and
said to Rabbi Yehoshu'a that "this means that I will see the coming of
redemption. His laughing is compared in the Jewish tradition to the
attitude of Sarah when she heard that the visitors/angels told she would
give birth to a son. Others refer to the words of Rabbi Akiva in Talmud
Shekalim and Makkot 24b who als olaughed when he passed with his
disciples near the destroyed Temple. It meant that they saw the veracity
of Zachariah's prophecy on the redemption of Jerusalem as the young and
the elderly will be heard in the streets of the City. This is why Av 15
(= 2014/08/11) as when the Temple was alive (as said in Hebrew), is the
day of "love", in ancient times the beginning of grape harvest.

For each Jew, since the time of the destruction of the Second Temple, it
means that the people witness and "memorize, make a trans-generational
and beyond time testimony" that the Temple has been destroyed till it
will be rebuilt. Each generation thus ascertains that redemption will
come in due time that only belongs to God's will. Judaism has a teaching
that, on the day the Temple has been destroyed and "wiped out", the
Messiah came to be born. Over the generations of "physical absence" ,
the Place still gathered all the prayers of the House of Israel, locally
in Jerusalem as in the dispersion. Tisha Be'Av is thus a day of hope
and true faith.

World War II started in Europe on August 2nd, 1914 - on Tisha Be'Av 5674
- i.e. 100 years ago. The world, in particular the Western world and
Europe, commemorates this event these days. It led to the collapse of
the Ottoman Empire in 1918-9. In 1917, the Balfour Declaration
recognized the project of a Jewish homeland for the Jews. For the first
time in the two millenia history, the Jews who were living in countries
that were in conflict, had to fight against Jews embattled in ennemy
states. Some were Austrian-Hungarian, German, French, British citizens.
They came to fight against other Jews for the sake of other powers. The
starting of the Jewish homeland in Eretz Israel allowed the Jews not to
fight against theirs' but to gather and launch a process of rebirth of a
Jewish presence beyond long centuries of destruction.

When we consider the situation in Jerusalem, we live in the midst of a
mystery of death/destruction and resurrection, Presence and absence or
visible and invisible Presence. In Jerusalem, the CHurch of the Holy
Sepulcher is also called the Anastasis, the Place of the Resurrection of
Jesus. He suffered death on the Cross at the Golgotha and was buried in
the then-garden on this hill. The Tomb was and is empty. We celebrated
yesterday the feast of the first true Apostle, Mary Magdalene, whom the
Resurrected called by her name. He told her to announce resurrection to
the scared disciple who were in despair. Today, the Tomb is empty. The
Sacraments/Mysteries of the Church (in particular the Eucharist)
proclaim the presence of the Lord. He remains "physically invisible".

For the Jews, the Temple is not visible but there remains as a living
memorial, an "absent Presence". Both Jews and Christians are rooted and
firmly established in this terrible day of destruction, precisely for
both Jews and Christians, in this "visible absence.

It makes all that happens to this very place a permanent "bridge in fire" whose future only depends on the Most High.

[From the CHaBaD online site]

Afternoon of the 8th of Av

The restriction against studying Torah—other than sections that
discuss the destruction of the Temples or other sad topics—commences at
midday on the eve of the fast. With few exceptions, the prohibition
continues until the end of the fast.

Tachanun (penitential prayer) is omitted from the afternoon prayer, as well as from all of the Tisha B’Av prayers.1

The final meal consists of a hard-boiled egg and a piece of bread
dipped in ashesShortly before the fast begins, we eat a “separation
meal.” This somber meal is not very plentiful—it follows a larger meal
eaten a bit earlier. This final meal is eaten while sitting on the floor
or a low stool. It consists of a piece of bread and a hard-boiled egg
dipped in ashes, a symbol of mourning. (No zimmun is conducted when reciting the Grace After Meals.)

With sundown, all the laws of Tisha B’Av take effect.

Tisha B’Av Eve

In the synagogue, the curtain is removed from the ark, and the lights are dimmed. After the evening prayers, the book of Lamentations
(Eichah) is read. The leader reads aloud, and the congregation reads
along in an undertone. In some communities (not Chabad), Lamentations is
read by the leader from a parchment scroll.2

Lamentations is followed by the recitation of a few brief kinot (elegies) and the “V’Atah Kadosh” paragraph, followed by kaddish (minus the stanza beginning “Titkabel”3—which is also omitted from the kaddish recited at the end of the morning prayers).

Tisha B’Av Morning

When ritually washing the hands in the morning, pour water on your
fingers only until the knuckle joints. While your fingers are still
moist, you may wipe your eyes with them. It is not permitted to rinse
out one’s mouth—or brush one’s teeth—until after the fast.

Considering that we don’t wear leather footwear on this day, the
blessing “Who provided me with all my needs,” which primarily thanks G‑d
for providing us with shoes, is omitted from the morning
blessings.Tefillin are referred to as our “glory,” and on the Ninth of
Av our glory is absent

Tallit and tefillin are not worn during the morning services. Tefillin are referred to as our “glory,” and on the Ninth of Av our glory is absent. Tzitzit are worn the entire day.

Those who follow Sephardic tradition insert the “Aneinu” passage in
the Amidah. The priestly blessing is omitted from the cantor’s

The Torah reading in the morning is Deuteronomy 4:25–40,
which speaks of the destruction of the Land of Israel. A chapter from
Jeremiah (8:13–9:23), which also speaks of the destruction, is read as
the haftorah.

After the morning prayers, it is customary to read the kinot elegies. The service then concludes with “Uva L’Tziyon” (omitting its second verse, “And this is My covenant”4) and “Aleinu.” The Song of the Day and “Ein K’Elokeinu” are omitted.

Work is permitted on Tisha B’Av, but discouraged. On this day, one’s
focus should be on mourning and repentance. If one must work, it should
preferably begin after midday.

It is customary to give extra charity on every fast day.

Tisha B’Av Afternoon

It is customary to wait until midday before starting the food
preparations for the post-fast meal. The intensity of the mourning
lessens in the afternoon, as is evident from the relaxing of certain

After midday, it is once again permitted to sit on chairs and benches
of regular height.Many have the custom to clean the house and wash the
floors in anticipation of the Redemption

Many communities have the custom to clean the house and wash the
floors after midday, in anticipation of the Redemption which we await.

In the synagogue, the ark’s curtain is restored to its place before the afternoon prayers.

Men don their tallit and tefillin for the afternoon
prayers. Before starting the afternoon prayers, it is customary to say
those prayers omitted from the conclusion of the morning services.

The Torah is read before the Amidah. The reading is Exodus 32:11–14
and 34:1–10, which discusses how, in the aftermath of the Golden Calf
incident, Moses successfully interceded on the Israelites’ behalf and
attained forgiveness for their sin. After the afternoon Torah reading,
the special fast-day haftorah, Isaiah 55:6–56:8, is read.

The sections of “Nachem” and “Aneinu” are added to the Amidah. (Note:
“Aneinu” is recited only by those who are actually fasting.)

Post–Tisha B’Av

Before breaking the fast, one should perform netilat yadayim, this time covering the entire hand with water, but without reciting the blessing.

The Temple was set ablaze on the afternoon of the 9th of Av, and
burned through the 10th. Therefore, the restrictions of the Nine Days
(such as not eating meat, swimming, or laundering clothing) extend until
midday of the 10th of Av.

However, if Tisha B’Av falls on a Thursday—in which case the 10th
falls on Friday—one may wash and cut one’s hair on Friday morning in
honor of the Shabbat.

1. This is because there is a verse (Lamentations 1:15) that refers to the Ninth of Av as moed,
a word that can also mean “a festival.” This is a reflection of the
idea that Tisha B’Av is the birthday of Moshiach, and contains the
potential to be a great holiday—a potential that will be realized with
the coming of Moshiach.
2. In some communities that read Lamentations from a parchment scroll, the reader recites the blessing al mikra megillah beforehand.

Levush writes that the prevalent custom to not read Lamentations from a
parchment scroll is based on the fact that such scrolls were rare.
Scribes did not customarily inscribe this scroll, as an expression of
the yearning and great anticipation for the time when the Ninth of Av
will be transformed into a day of rejoicing and happiness.
3. Omitted because it is a petition that our prayers be accepted. We
read in Lamentations (3:8) that “my prayer has been shut out”—so how can
we petition G‑d to accept our prayers if they have been shut out?
4. This verse is omitted because we are forbidden to study Torah—G‑d’s
covenant—on Tisha B’Av. Also, so that it does not appear as if we were
establishing a covenant with G‑d over the destruction.
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