Eicha – Tisha B’Av
July 19, 2010 2 Comments
Tonight and tomorrow is Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. It is a fast day, a day of mourning for the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem, the Bar Kochba revolt failing, the siege of Jerusalem, and more.
Two years ago when I was studying in Israel, I spent the eve of Tisha B’Av in Israel. I went with a friend to Jerusalem and we visited the Kotel (Western Wall) before going to the City of David, the site of the original founding of Jerusalem by King David, to hear the Book of Lamentations, Megillat Eichah, read. It was a deeply moving and spiritual experience.
Tonight I went to Tisha B’Av services at my synagogue. I was reflecting on the powerful and meaningful words and the thoughts shared by my rabbi. I enjoyed thinking about some of the older members of my congregation and how they have shared with me as well as my friends and family. I thought about how lucky I am not to be living through the horrors described by Jeremiah.
The short article below is from the JTA about Tisha B’Av and modern issues in Israel:
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israelis flocked to Jerusalem’s Old City to observe Tisha B’Av, the fast day that commemorates the destruction of the Holy Temple.
A new poll released before Tisha B’Av showed that some 22 percent of Israelis would fast on the day and another 52 percent would refrain from going out with friends.
Israeli law requires that recreational spots be closed on Tisha B’Av; 18 percent of poll respondents called that “religious coercion.”
The Ynet-Gesher poll surveyed 505 Hebrew-speaking Jewish Israelis. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.
Jewish tradition says that the Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred; the poll asked which groups are the most hated in Israeli society. Fifty-four percent of respondents answered Arabs, 37 percent named the haredi Orthodox, 8 percent religious and 1 percent Tel Avivians.
Some 42 percent of respondents said they believed that the religious-secular issue is the worst source of tension in Israeli society, while 41 percent said it was the Jewish-Arab situation. Another 9 percent said the worst source of tension is between settlers and the rest of the country, while 8 percent said it was the tension between rich and poor.
“May it be Thy will that the Temple be speedily rebuilt in our days”. Jews say this three times a day in prayers. TIME offers some interesting thoughts on what it means with the modern State of Israel.