Why Is Tisha (9) B'Av Important For Israel?
By Stephanie Schneider
Whether you are a history buff or religious, the 9th of Av-Tish'a B'Av has both historical and religious value.
It is the date when both the First and Second Temple were destroyed. It is also the date when Moses dropped the first set of tablets as he descended from Mt. Sinai witnessing the sin of the golden calf.
Throughout Jewish history, there are many other tragedies that occurred on the 9th of Av such as the Jews being exiled from Spain and the sin of the spies. The beginning of WWI and of the mass deportation to The Warsaw Ghetto also happened on the 9th of Av.
During this day, it is important to remember the past and I think it also reminds us about Israel and our connection to Israel.
Everything that occurred on the 9th of Av has a direct correlation to Israel, whether it occurred in the holy city of Jerusalem or outside of Israel.
The Jewish people have always longed for Israel since receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. We were then finally able to return to the land of Israel and build the Temple.
However, both Temple's were destroyed on the same day according to the Jewish calendar.
*The destruction of the First Temple and Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (The 9th Day of Av, 586BC)
*The destruction of the Second Temple and Jerusalem by Titus of Rome (The 9th Day of Av, 70CE)
During modern history, many tragedies have occurred regarding Jews. The Holocaust, anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments show how important Israel is now and has always been in the lives of the Jews, deep within our souls.
I live in Jerusalem and am still in disbelief that I live just minutes from the Western Wall. I am continuously amazed that I have fulfilled the 2,000 year old dream of returning to where those who came before me fought so hard to live. But I also know that not every Jew in the world will make this choice.
To me, there is a special importance to commemorating the 9th of Av to ensure that we remember how far we have come. Here in Israel, religious and secular alike are aware of the significance of the day. It is announced on the radio and mentioned every hour in the news report (along with tips as to how to endure the fast). Songs are played that reflect the meaningfulness of this day in our national history.
But finding that connection isn't always easy for those who may not observe this day of collective mourning. And as we go about our daily lives, how important is it to recall the painful destruction that the Jewish people have endured time and time again?
Is there a way to translate this memory of the past into action for the future?
I believe that Jews everywhere, of all types and styles and levels of observance, can find meaning in this day. It embodies much of what we as a Jewish people hold dear: making our collective memory personal.
If every one of us were to take a moment on this day to remember, it may just remind us that we all indeed belong to this long history wherein we may have suffered, but we have also overcome. From our ancestors here in this land thousands of years ago, every Jew in the world can feel a connection and a reminder to always have faith in a brighter future and to never lose hope.
Maybe then we can find our own lessons in the history of Tisha B'Av and use them to strengthen our connection to the land, to the people, and the history which has made the Jewish People what we are: Am Yisrael.