Tisha B'Av

 & The Nine Days


The little known fast of Tisha B'Av is less understood than Israel's other holy days, but is of considerable importance.  Tisha B'Av commemorates what are acknowledged to be the two most tragic events in Jewish history.  It was on this day that the Babylonians destroyed Solomon's temple in 586 B.C., and on this day in A.D. 70 that the Romans leveled the Second Temple with fire. Tisha B'Av is also set aside as a somber fast on the Jewish calendar because on this day God decreed that the disbelieving generation of Israelites would not enter into the Promised Land. They had despaired of God's power to conquer their enemies and lead them into the land of promise.  For this reason, they would be consigned to wander 40 years in the dry and dusty wilderness, and only their children would enter into Canaan.

There are four annual fast days discovered in Zechariah 8:19. Tisha B'Av stands out from the other three in the mind of a Jewish worshipper.  Tisha B'Av literally means "the Ninth of Av," and occurs in the the fifth month which falls annually around July-August. 

The "Three Weeks" between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av have historically been days of misfortune and calamity for the Jewish People. During this time, as mentioned, both the First and Second Temples were destroyed, among other terrible tragedies. In 2015 during this period, the Nuclear Agreement with Iran--Israel's arch enemy--was signed by the Western powers, placing Israel at greater risk in the future.

These days are referred to as the period "within the straits" in accordance with the verse: "all her persecutors overtook her between the straits," Lamentations 1:3 K.J.V. During this time, various aspects of mourning are observed by the nation of Israel. Devotees minimize joy and celebration. And, since the attribute of Divine judgment is acutely felt, many avoid potentially dangerous or risky endeavors.

"As Av enters, we diminish our joy," says the Mishna, which is manifest in many laws and customs observed during the first nine days of the month of Av.  Some of the manifestations of this concept are the reduction of business, the prohibition of pleasurable building, and so forth.

According to Judaism, an observer should not play musical instruments during the Nine Days. Some say that applies to singing as well. There are appropriate songs to sing during the Nine Days. Giving of gifts are avoided, if possible, during the Nine Days. If unavoidable, it is preferably to set the gift aside and not use it until after Tisha B''Av.

New clothes are seldom bought during the Nine Days.  Hair cutting and shaving are prohibited. Even those who shave during the Three Weeks should avoid shaving during the Nine Days.

Judaism teaches that weddings and other festive gatherings are prohibited. One should not play or listen to music.  Pleasurable bathing is also prohibited. Meat and wine are prohibited during the Nine Days, except on Shabbat. Meat and wine are associated both with joy and with Temple service. Both reasons combine to explain this prohibition.  It is the practice not to wear freshly laundered clothing during the Nine Days.

This is not an exhaustive list of the rules for the Nine Days.  Faithful observers take this annual time period of mourning, including the Three Weeks, which end at Tisha B'Av, as very important.  It is a time when Jews ponder the causes of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple and work towards "repairing the damage" caused by past (and present) generations.

A Time of Calamity

Although there are more, the five most common tragic events that have occurred on Tisha B' Av in Jewish history, according to Jewish writer, Michael Strassfeld, in his highly acclaimed book, The Jewish Holidays: A Guide & Commentary, 1985, are:

1. The generation of the Exodus was told that they all had to die in the desert, for they had despaired of God's power to lead them into the land of promise.

2, 3. Both the First and the Second Temples went up in flames.

4. The city of Betar ... was captured by the Romans, thousands were slain; Jewish resistance ended and, with it, the hope for a speedy restoration of the Temple; Jewish religion was proscribed.

5. The city of Jerusalem was plowed under, to be rendered uninhabitable (Taanit 26a).



"Since Tisha B'Av is a major fast day, all food and drink is banned.  On this day it is also forbidden to wear shoes, bathe, wear perfume, shave, wash cloths or exchange greetings.  Mirrors are traditionally covered, and mourners sit on the ground or a low stool just as one would do when mourning the loss of a loved one," The Feasts of the Lord, 1997, by Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal, page 155..

Another Jewish writer adds, "Tisha B'Av is a day of fasting observed with mourning customs, such as not shaving and sitting low to the ground. It also culminates a three-week period of semi-mourning when weddings and other celebrations are avoided ... The text for Tisha B'Av is the Book of Lamentations, a long poem that keens over the destruction of Jerusalem and the first Temple," Living A Jewish Life, 1991, by Anita Diamant and Howard Cooper, page 238.


The Prophetic Tisha B'Av Of The Appointed Time Of The End

Tisha B'Av foreshadows tragic events for the nation of Israel and the world at large at the end of time. 

"O My people, put on sackcloth and roll in ashes; mourn with bitter wailing as for an only son [whom you rejected], for suddenly the Destroyer [Antichrist/Satan] will come upon us," Jeremiah 6:26.  Indeed, the One who causes desolation will come to Israel and Jerusalem and bring untold destruction.

The 2300 evenings and mornings--the 1,150 prophetic counting days of the end time--are associated with the Courtroom Judgment and the surrender and desecration of Heaven's Temple; this will begin on Tisha B'Av (Daniel 8:13-14) at Point 12 of The Kingdom Calendar.  From the events that will begin on Tisha B'Av, we see a judgment verdict of the Courtroom in which the majority of mankind (the nations) will be sentenced to destruction along with Antichrist (Daniel 7:26), because the masses have followed after the Man of Sin (Revelation 13:8).  Tisha B'Av reflects the mourning and sadness of such great losses in both the physical and spiritual realms. 

On earth during the time of the end, modern Israel will also suffer the same unbelief of Egypt's generation... the failure to trust in the Messenger of the Covenant, God's Son--Yeshua, and His providential power. The book of Revelation promises that Jesus will conquer the evil enemy and take spiritual Israel into Heavenly Canaan, but the majority of today's Jews (and Christians alike) will despair, turning to Antichrist for their temporal deliverance. 

More About Tisha B'Av from a Jewish perspective.

More About Tisha B'Av on Wikipedia.