Tisha B’Av 101 — the basics

What is Tisha B’av?

Tisha B’av is the Fast commemmorated on the ninth day of the month of Av. It begins at sunset Monday July 23, 2007 and ends at nightfall on July 24.

Why do we fast on Tisha B’av?

According to the Mishna, five misfortunes befell the Jews on this day throughout history:

  • This was the day that the spies maligned Israel, and the Israelites, begging not to go to Israel, were sentenced to wander in the desert for 40 years;
  • Both the First and Second Temples were destroyed;
  • The City of Betar was captured by the Romans, ending the Bar Kochba Rebellion.
  • A year later, the Jerusalem was destroyed.

What other customs do we follow this day?

As on Yom Kippur, people do not wear leather shoes, wash or anoint with oils. Because it is a day of mourning (unlike the High Holidays), some do not sleep with a pillow or on a bed, or on chairs, but on the floor, especially for the customary reading of Megillat Eicha, or Lamentations, which says:

Al eileh, ani bochiya. (“For these things, I do weep”) (1:16) , lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem.
Bacho tivkeh balaylah
v’dimatah al lechiah
ayn lah menachem mikol ohavehah
kol re’ehah bagdu bah
hayu lah le’oyvim.

“Bitterly she [Jerusalem] weeps in the night, tears upon her cheeks, she has no one to comfort her out of all her friends, all her friends have betrayed her and become her foes.” (1:2)

See also Commemorating Tisha B’Av — what to do?

For more information, click http://www.jewfaq.org/holidayd.htm.