The Jewish calendar is filled with all sorts of fun and inspiring days. Whether it be the joy of lighting the Hanukkah menorah or the symbolism of dwelling in the Sukkah, there are many beautiful lessons to be found. Juxtaposed to these are a few gloomy days that cause us to reflect on the Jewish experience. Tisha b’Av, which this year falls on August 11, is undoubtedly the most tragic. It is on the 9th of Av that several national calamities took place. There was the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BC and if that was not enough, it was on this very day in 70 CE that the Romans destroyed the Second Temple. It always seemed to be on Tisha b’Av that Jews were expelled from various homelands, as in the year 1290 when King Edward I deported all Jews from England. It is well known that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. What a lot of people don’t realize is that it was on that very day that a decree was given by Fernand and Isabella to expel all Jews from Spain. To remember the sad times, it has been Jewish custom to have a total fast from sundown to sundown on the 9th of Av. The book of Eicah/Lamentations is read in mournful reflection. Yet, in the midst of this sadness, there were always those who could see a ray of light for the future. The midrash hopefully declares “The Messiah, the Savior, was born on the day the Temple was destroyed “ (Lamentations Rabbah 1.) Despite the tragedies of Jewish history, God will still fulfill his promise of blessing and ultimate redemption. This can also be said for every individual believer in God and Yeshua that despite the uncertainties of life, he says he will work all things for good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). Zechariah, the prophet, is given assurance of this when God tells him “the fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth (Tisha b’Av), the fast of the seventh and the fast of the 10th month will become joy, gladness and cheerful celebrations.“ We messianic Jews and non-Jews join in the fast every year as we remember Jewish history. Yet we feel a tinge of hope as we await the better days of the messianic Kingdom which are evidently coming soon. As we reflect on the struggles of the past, let us keep our eyes set on the blessed hope of Mashiach!
Tisha b’Av – A Dark Day with a Messianic Hope; July/August 2019Rabbi Barney Kasdan2019-08-15T18:31:53-07:00
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