Tisha B'Av Forum

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    Dave Hirsch

    Many people go nuts on Tisha B’Av. There is literally nothing you can do to occupy your time throughout the entire day. Children can play games and do other things, adults (other than taking care of the children and cooking) sit empty. According to most Poskim even sleeping, reading newspapers etc. is problematic. Let’s use this forum to discuss the things that are permitted (mentioned in Shulchan Aruch). Let us hear inspirational insights about the Churban, information about the Churban (whether it is from Gemaras, Yosifun or other history Seforim/books. Holocaust stories and other horror Galus stories. And may we keep this thread to announce the Yom Tov of Tisha B’Av, B’Bias Goel, Amen.

    Lakewood Mom


    Dave Hirsch

    The following is the Wikipedia profile of Tisha B’Av:

    Tisha B’Av (Hebrew: ???? ???? or ?? ???, “the Ninth of Av,”) is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day (Tisha) of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 656 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date. Accordingly, the day has been called the “saddest day in Jewish history”.

    Tisha B’Av falls in July or August in the Gregorian calendar. When the ninth of Av falls on Saturday, the observance is deferred to Sunday the tenth. While the day recalls general tragedies which have befallen the Jewish people over the ages, the day focuses on commemoration of five events: the destruction of the two ancient Temples in Jerusalem, the sin of the twelve scouts sent by Moses who spoke disparagingly about the Promised Land, the razing of Jerusalem following the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, and the failure of Bar Kokhba’s revolt against the Roman Empire.

    The fast lasts about 25 hours, beginning at sunset on the eve of Tisha B’Av and ending at nightfall the next day. In addition to the prohibitions against eating or drinking, observant Jews also observe prohibitions against washing or bathing, applying creams or oils, wearing leather shoes, or having marital relations. In addition, mourning customs similar to those applicable to the shiva period immediately following the death of a close relative are traditionally followed for at least part of the day, including sitting on low stools, refraining from work, and not greeting others.

    The Book of Lamentations is traditionally read, followed by the kinnot, a series of liturgical lamentations. In Sephardic communities, it is also customary to read the Book of Job.

    The fast commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

    In connection with the fall of Jerusalem, three other fast-days were established at the same time as the Ninth Day of Av: these were the Tenth of Tevet, when the siege began; the Seventeenth of Tammuz, when the first breach was made in the wall; and the Third of Tishrei, known as the Fast of Gedaliah, the day when Gedaliah was assassinated.

    The three weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av are known as The Three Weeks, while the days leading up to Tisha B’Av are known as The Nine Days.

    Five calamities

    According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), five specific events occurred on the ninth of Av that warrant fasting:

    The twelve spies sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan returned from their mission. Only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, brought a positive report, while the others spoke disparagingly about the land. The majority report caused the Children of Israel to cry, panic and despair of ever entering the “Promised Land”. For this, they were punished by God that their generation would not enter the land. Because of the Israelites’ lack of faith, God decreed that for all generations this date would become one of crying and misfortune for their descendants, the Jewish people.

    The First Temple built by King Solomon and the Kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE and the Judeans were sent into the Babylonian exile.

    The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, scattering the people of Judea and commencing the Jewish exile from the Holy Land. According to the Talmud in tractate Ta’anit, the destruction of the Second Temple began on the Ninth of Av and the Temple continued to burn throughout the Tenth of Av.

    The Romans crushed Bar Kokhba’s revolt and destoyed the city of Betar, killing over 100,000 Jews, in 132 CE.

    Following the Roman siege of Jerusalem, Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Temple and the surrounding area, in 133 CE.

    Other calamities

    Over time, Tisha B’Av has come to be a Jewish day of mourning, not only for these pre-Talmudic events, but also for later tragedies. Regardless of the exact dates of these events, for many Jews, Tisha B’Av is the designated day of mourning for them, and these themes are reflected in liturgy composed for this day (see below).

    Other calamities associated with Tisha B’Av:

    The First Crusade was declared by Pope Urban II in 1095, killing 10,000 Jews in its first month and destroying Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland.

    Jews were expelled from England in 1290.

    Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492.

    On Tisha B’Av 1914 (August 1, 1914), World War I broke out, causing unprecedented devastation across Europe and set the stage for World War II and the Holocaust.

    On the eve of Tisha B’Av 1942, the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.

    The Jewish community center in Buenos Aires was bombed, killing 86 and wounding 300 others, in 1994.

    Laws and customs

    Main prohibitions

    Tisha B’Av bears similar stringencies to those of Yom Kippur. In addition to the length of the fast which lasts about 25 hours, beggining at sunset on the eve of Tisha B’Av and ends at nightfall the following day, Tisha B’Av also shares the following five prohibitions:

    No eating or drinking

    No washing or bathing

    No application of creams or oils

    No wearing of leather shoes

    No marital relations

    These restrictions are waived in the case of health issues. For example, those who are seriously ill may eat and drink, in contrast to Yom Kippur, when eating and drinking is allowed only in cases of life-threatening need. (On other fast days almost any medical condition may justify breaking the fast; in practice, since many cases differ, consultation with a rabbi is often necessary.) Ritual washing up to the knuckles is permitted. Washing to cleanse dirt or mud from one’s body is also permitted.

    [edit]Additional customs

    Torah study is forbidden on Tisha B’av (as it is considered an enjoyable activity), except for the study of distressing texts such as the Book of Lamentations, the Book of Job, portions of Jeremiah and chapters of the Talmud that discuss the laws of mourning.

    According to the Rema it is customary to sit on low stools or on the floor, as is done during shiva from the meal immediately before the fast (seudah hamafseket) until noon. The Beit Yosef rules that the custom extends until one prays Mincha (the afternoon prayer). The custom of the Aruch HaShulchan was not to sit in one’s usual seat, but did not require sitting close to the floor.

    If possible, work is avoided during this period. Electric lighting may be turned off or dimmed, and kinot recited by candle-light. Some sleep on the floor or modify their normal sleeping routine, by sleeping without a pillow, for instance. People refrain from greeting each other or sending gifts on this day. Old prayerbooks and Torahs are often buried on this day.

    End of fast

    Although the fast ends at nightfall, it is customary to refrain from eating meat and drinking wine until midday of the following day. According to tradition, the Temple burned all night and most of the day of the tenth of Av.

    When Tisha B’Av begins on Saturday night, the Havdalah ritual at the end of Shabbat is truncated (using a candle but no spices), without a blessing over wine. After Tisha B’Av ends on Sunday evening, another Havdalah ceremony is performed with wine (without candle or spices).

    The laws of Tisha B’Av are recorded in the Shulchan Aruch (Literally “The Set Table”, a code of Jewish Law”) Orach Chayim 552-557.


    The scroll of Eicha (Lamentations) is read in synagogue during the evening services. In addition, most of the morning is spent chanting or reading Kinnot, most bewailing the loss of the Temples and the subsequent persecutions, but many others referring to post-exile disasters. These later kinnot were composed by various poets (often prominent rabbis) who had either suffered in the events mentioned or relate received reports. Important kinnot were composed by Elazar ha-Kalir and Rabbi Judah ha-Levi. After the Holocaust, kinnot were composed by the German-born Rabbi Shimon Schwab (in 1959, at the request of Rabbi Joseph Breuer) and by Rabbi Solomon Halberstam, leader of the Bobov Hasidim (in 1984). Since Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza, some right wing segments of the Religious Zionist community have begun to recite kinnot to commemorate the expulsion of Jewish settlers from Gush Katif and northern West Bank on the day after Tisha B’Av, in 2005.

    In many Sephardic congregations the Book of Job is read on the morning of Tisha B’Av.

    At the Mincha service, Nachem is recited during the Amidah.

    History of the observance

    In the long period which is reflected in Talmudic literature the observance of the Ninth Day of Av assumed a character of constantly growing sadness and asceticism. By the end of the second century or at the beginning of the third, the celebration of the day had lost much of its gloom. Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi was in favor of abolishing it altogether or, according to another version, of lessening its severity when the fast has been postponed from Saturday to Sunday (Talmud, Tractate Megillah 5b).

    The growing strictness in the observance of mourning customs in connection with the Ninth Day of Av became pronounced in post-Talmudic times, and particularly in the darkest period of Jewish history, from the fifteenth century to the eighteenth.

    Maimonides (twelfth century), in his Mishneh Torah, says that the restrictions as to the eating of meat and the drinking of wine refer only to the last meal before fasting on the Eighth Day of Av, if taken after noon, but before noon anything may be eaten (Hilchoth Ta’anith 5:8). Rabbi Moses of Coucy (thirteenth century) wrote that it is the universal custom to refrain from meat and wine during the whole day preceding the Ninth of Av (Sefer Mitzvoth ha-Gadol, Venice ed., Laws of Tishah B’Av, 249b). Rabbi Joseph Caro (sixteenth century) says some are accustomed to abstain from meat and wine from the beginning of the week in which the Ninth Day of Av falls; and still others abstain throughout the three weeks from the Seventeenth of Tammuz (Shulkhan Arukh, Orach Chayim 551).

    A gradual extension of prohibitions can be traced in the abstention from marrying at this season and in other signs of mourning. So Rabbi Moses of Coucy says that some do not use the tefillin (“phylacteries”) on the Ninth Day of Av, a custom which later was universally observed (it is now postponed until the afternoon). In this manner all customs originally designated as marks of unusual piety finally became the rule for all.

    Contemporary opinions


    In Israel, most restaurants and places of entertainment are closed on the eve of Tisha B’Av and the following day. Establishments that break the law are subject to fines. Outside of Israel, the day is not observed by most secular Jews, as opposed to Yom Kippur, in which many secular Jews fast and go to synagogue.

    Other traditions

    Classical Jewish sources maintain that the Jewish Messiah will be born on Tisha B’Av, though many explain this idea metaphorically, as the hope for the Jewish Messiah was born on Tisha B’Av with the destruction of the Temple.


    I usually run through some sad Holocaust movies to pass the time. Not ideal, but it’s in the mood of the day and really is quite depressing.


    I’m interested in hearing what others think of this thought, whether they agree with this or not.

    The churban was a culminaton of years of sinning and consequently ongoing weakening of the Jews so the Churban really happened slowly, building up to a crescendo. The culmination of this all lead to the time being ripe for the total Churban but the catalyst that caused the flames to ignite and burst into wildfire and there was no going back was when the Jews killed Zacharia Hanovi or the story with Bar Kamtza.

    So the destruction of the Bais Hamikdoshes was not a one time thing rather tens and maybe even hundreds of years of events that lead to the churban.

    I think the geulah too, will be a culmination of events that will lead to moshiach’s arrival. In other words the belief that Moshiach can come any day is the idea that any day the process of geulah can start. And I believe, looking at world events that the process of Moshiach’s arrival has started. But I don’t want to sound like I have an heretic idea, so maybe someone can explain to me why my idea is wrong, but my idea is that Moshiach will not just pop up from one day to the next rather it will be a culmination of events that will lead us to a time that is ripe and there will be one thing that will be the catalyst, the spark and Moshiach will arrive.


    We cannot know the cheshbonos of the Ribbono Shel Oilam and therefore we cannot say why individuals suffer. Some people do suffer more than others. And when Hashem sends a collective punishement on klal Yisrael, innocent rightous individuals get punished too. Today people who have painful lives doesn’t necasserily mean that they are sinful people. We cannot know Hashem’s cheshbonos why individuals suffer.

    However Klal Yisroel as a whole, when we are collectively punished, we know this is because of our sins or because we are in golus and Hashem wants to remind us of that fact.

    In Spain and Portugal, Jews had high postitions in the government, Jews were rich and influential. But Hashem sent the Inqisition to remind the Jews not to get to comfortable or forget that they are Jews.

    In Germany too, the majority of German Jews considered themselves Germans first and Jewish second. German Jews were assimilating and were trying to be more German than the Germans. Well, Hashem made the Germans hate the Jews to such an extent that Jews cannot anymore say that they are more German than Jewish.

    I’m a little worries that we are getting too comfortable in America. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be good citizens. Rather the way we live our lives is as if golus is over.

    Hashem should protect us and turn our hearts towards Him in goodness and no more tragedies should befall us.


    It is no surprise we are still in golus. We cry about the torment of Rubashkin and Pollard by the US courts but we remain silent when a shul and its parent organization use those same secular courts to torment a widow and tell people to ignore the Bet Din courts established by the Torah.

    Dave Hirsch

    by Naomi Cohn

    I had a family. Four beautiful children, two boys, two girls. An open home filled with guests all the time. A wonderful relationship with my parents and siblings. A hard working husband. Enough money to pay the bills. Health. My life felt so perfect. So complete.

    Then my world suddenly caved in.

    My once full, happy, satisfying life was empty and sad. The constant yearning inside of me for the familiarity of being complete threatened to turn the most basic daily motions into tears of desperate sadness. Like picking out vegetables at the store or switching a load of laundry. I was overwhelmed with despair. I was forever incomplete. My purpose of life snatched away from me as I sat in my house for eight hours a day waiting for my other three children to come home from camp and school so I could reclaim my role of Mommy that was gone all day long.

    Feeling the Loss

    I no longer struggle to mourn for something that I never loved or held dear.

    * * *



    Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan a”h, writes about our life in America that we are living in comfort but ” material wealth and power are here today and gone tommorow, but faith in God is eternal. We have nothing to lean on but our Father in Heaven.”

    It’s important to remember, but even more important to KNOW and FEEL that everything is fleeting and the fact that we are relatively secure here in America doesn’t mean anything.


    Dave Hirsch

    The Burden of a Long Memory

    Being an observant Jew means being a keeper of Jewish history: the Holocaust, the destruction of the Temples, and Sinai.

    BY: Rabbi Avi Shafran

    The teen-aged cousins, one born and bred on the kibbutz, the other an Orthodox American newcomer to the Holy Land on a short visit before the start of the academic term at his yeshiva, academy of Jewish learning, had first met only days earlier.

    They had been speaking about family, personal experiences, and sundry things their very different lives nevertheless had in common. And then, the observant boy mentioned, entirely en passant, the imminence of the Jewish fast day known as Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem.

    “We don’t observe that holiday on the kibbutz,” his cousin pointed out. “The Temple’s destruction just isn’t relevant to our lives here.”

    The American boy hesitated for a long moment before asking, “Do you observe any Jewish day of mourning?”

    “Sure,” came the reply. “Yom HaShoah [Holocaust Memorial Day].”

    Another pause, this one longer. The yeshiva student knew that the national day of Jewish mourning, Tish’a B’Av, on one level encompassed every tragedy in Jewish history, that not only was the first Jewish Holy Temple destroyed on that day (2420 years ago), and the second one (1930 years ago) on the very same day, but that the rebel Jewish forces at Betar were annihilated by the Romans on it as well.

    He knew, too, that the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290, and from France in 1306 and from Spain in 1492 all happened on Tish’a B’Av as well.

    He also knew that what was quite arguably the true genesis of what would culminate in Germany’s “Final Solution,” the First World War, which began on Tish’a B’Av. But somehow it didn’t seem the right time for a history lesson.

    So, instead, he asked his cousin, “Is your commemoration of the Holocaust really important to you?”

    “Absolutely,” came the reply. “The Holocaust underlies our very identity as Israelis and as Jews.”The American weighed the wisdom of actually saying what he wanted so to say. He decided the blood-bond was strong enough to handle it.

    “Will you expect your children to pay its memory the same respect that you do?”

    “Of course.”

    “To feel the same sorrow, to have the same determination that you do?”

    “Of course,” the Israeli replied. “My generation will see to it that our children recognize the importance of the Holocaust, how it defines their identity, how important it must continue to be to all Jews.”

    “And will you expect them, in turn, to transmit the same conviction to their own children–and theirs to theirs?”

    “Absolutely. Forever. To us it is that important.”

    The American swallowed hard, then spoke.

    “Like the first attempts to destroy our people and its faith were to our own ancestors.”

    Nothing else was said for the moment. The two young men walked back to the kibbutz in silence.

    It could well be argued that a large part of what characterizes “Orthodox” Jews is a heightened sense of history. Not only of its vicissitudes and tragedies for our people, but, most importantly, of its seminal Jewish moment, the unequalled event that bequeathed us our mandate to cherish, study and observe the Torah–the revelation of God to His people.

    Whether a Jew, God forbid, willfully rejects the divine origin of the Torah or simply lacks the background to have given the issue much thought, what he denies, or is oblivious to, is an historical fact–the mass-witnessed and painstakingly transmitted event at Sinai that lies at ground-zero of the Jewish people and the Jewish faith.

    All who aspire to the appellation “observant” are, in essence, the keepers of Jewish history, recent and ancient, and are entrusted with the mission of sharing the memory of the Jewish past–both its nadirs and its apogee–with all their fellow Jews.

    Should the Messiah tarry further, God forbid, a day may well come when all testimony of the events of a half-century ago will be indirect, arriving only through books and films, or third-hand accounts.

    The facts, though, of what happened during those years, the horrible details of Jewish Europe’s destruction, will endure, because there will always be Jews determined to hold fast to the entirety of our history, to maintain the memory of what happened a half-century ago.

    And 1940 years ago, and 2597 years ago.

    And 3321 years ago, in the Sinai desert.


    It is a hard day, and it is proof of how bad this galus is that we can’t truly mourn over it for even a few minutes…let alone a whole day. Maybe someone can come up with a flexible program of study/excersizes/ something experiential to help people utilize the day and get in touch with who we really are and what we are really missing. The videos produced are nice, but they are short- relatively speaking…any ideas…..


    Thanks Dave Hirsch for Rabbi Avi Shafran’s article and also the other posts on the subject of the churban.

    Rabbi Shafran’s article is beautiful.

    Hello Kitty

    The day is coming to an end and we’ll all have delicious food to fast out. Yet, we shall not forgot that we are in golus and pray to hashem every day for moshiach. Next year we will imyertz hashem be able to say “A Freilichen Tisha B’Av”


    Dave Hirsch
    mom of a few

    Thanks Dave. I just saw it and it is sooooo inspiring!


    Read Josephus to get a first hand glimpse of what occurred prior, during and after the churban. The historical facts are true, but you have to take how “nice” the romans were with a grain of salt.


    Read Josephus to get a first hand glimpse of what occurred prior, during and after the churban.

    Actually, that’s *exactly* what I’m reading today.

    My kids (who are older) asked for some reading material. I gave one of them “The Anguish of the Jews” — a history of 23 centuries of Antisemitism written by Edward Flannery, a Roman Catholic priest.

    The Wolf


    Don’t even know why I came into the office today, totally non-productive. Thanks for the inspiration in these articles.


    Dave, A young friend of mine lost her baby girl just a few days after she was born. She suffers the pain that Naomi writes about. She has not been able to cope and I feel it in everything Naomi said. She does have another child and yet she has not reached that level yet that she can receive enough from him to cover her loss.

    Our losses as yidden are huge and there are many who still wish to destroy us and divide us. we must always keep that in mind when the yetzer horah laughs at us as it works so easily to make us divide and destroy each other from within. That was our downfall in the past. And that is why the Yetzer Horah laughs at us, because we have yet to learn our lessons.


    How many Leibi’s are we mourning today? Children sold in slavery during the 2 churbanos, killed by their own parents during the Crusades and Tach v’tat, thousands forcibly converted in Portugal, countless abducted by missionaries, half a million killed in the Holocaust…

    One death is a tragedy, millions are a statistic.

    Y.W. Editor

    (Sunday, July 29th, 2012)

    To get involved in Project Inspire today, log onto http://www.kiruv.com

    WATCH VIDEO NOW: Click HERE to watch the film.


    Regarding the above mentioned “Journey to Jerusalem”, please note:

    Cooment from article on YW (Link):

    anonymouss says:

    July 29, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Just wanted to let people know that there is a minimum $10 donation fee to watch the video online. I went to the site and filled in my information expecting to be put on a page with the video only to find out that the only way I can watch the video online is if I give them money first using paypal. There should be mention of this in the article above.





    Now that Tisho b’Ov is over, I am sure we are all gearing up to the 1 century anniversary of the outbreak of World War one next Tish b’Ov.

    Meanwhile we’ll have 2 digressions before that with the 80th Johrzeit of the Chofetz Chaim, to be followed by the 80th Johrzeit of Rav Yehudo Meir Shapiro ZT’L.

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