Tisha B’Av — the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av — is a fast day that commemorates the destruction of the 1st Temple in 586 BCE, the 2nd Temple in 70 CE, and is also associated with the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 and other tragic historic events. Traditionally, many of these events were seen as punishment for not upholding the mitzvot or for the lack of civility among people of different factions of Judaism. Regardless of one’s belief about the cause of the Temple’s destruction (or desire to rebuild it), this day is a reminder of the many attempts throughout history to destroy the Jewish people and Judaism. It is also an opportunity for us to mourn the losses we have endured. Traditionally, we engage in a full 24 hour fast, refrain from wearing leather shoes and other acts associated with mourning, and listen to the reading of Megillat Eicha (Lamentations) at night to help us focus on the solemnity of the day and commit ourselves to building a better future.
Tisha B’Av is the culmination of a three-week period of mourning that begins with the minor fast day of Sh’va Asar B’Tammuz (17th of Tammuz), which marked the breach of the city walls in Jerusalem that preceded the destruction of the 1st Temple. It also begins the lead-up to the season of repentance, with Rosh Hashanah just seven weeks away.
We will begin Wednesday night, July 26, 2023 at 8:30 pm at Tikvat Israel with the evening service and reading of the book of Eicha (Lamentations), which will take place in the Flax Library and on our regular Zoom link. We encourage those who are able to sit on the floor to do so; there will be chairs around the perimeter of the room for those who need them. You may also want to bring a flashlight (or use the one on your phone), as the lights will be dim. We continue on Thursday morning, July 27, 2023 at 8:00 am at B’nai Shalom of Olney and using their Zoom link (see email for password) for the morning service (no tallit or tefillin). We will meet back at Tikvat Israel and on Zoom at 2:00 for the traditional minchah service (with tallit and tefillin) for those who are fasting (others are welcome as well). Some people follow the tradition to break the fast after Minchah, recognizing that we have returned to the Land of Israel. For those who are not fasting (or unable to attend a 2:00 minyan), our regular Mincha/Maariv minyan will take place at 7:30 pm on ZOOM ONLY. The fast concludes at 9:10 pm.