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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem

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Facts about the Tisha B’av Fast

"What is the fast of Tisha B’Av about?

The Jewish people began their fast last night [July 7] on the 9th Av in the Hebrew calendar. Here are some facts about the fast:

1. This fast day is considered the most serious of the ‘Four Fast Days of Destruction’ which were instituted to commemorate the ruin of Jerusalem and the Temple twice: the first during the Babylonian period (in the year 586 BC) and the second during the Roman period (the year 70 AD). According to Jewish tradition, on the 9th Av, the Babylonian and Roman armies came to Jerusalem, burnt the two Temples, destroyed the city of Jerusalem, and expelled and dispersed its inhabitants all over the world.

2. The fast comes after a period of three weeks called ‘Bein ha-Metzarim’ that is, ‘between tribulations’. This is a three-week period of mourning customs that commemorate the ruins of the two Temples. These traditions include refraining from eating meat, drinking wine, shaving, listening to happy music, and celebrating happy occasions etc.

3. Fasting begins with the sunset on the eve of the 9th Av and ends at the next sunset, meaning it lasts about 25 hours. It is forbidden to eat and drink, to have sexual relations, to wear leather shoes, and to shower.

4. One of the customs of this fast day is publicly reading the Book of Lamentations in the synagogue. The book includes lamentations about Jerusalem’s destruction during the Babylonian period. Worshipers sit on the floor – not on chairs, and special prayers called ‘kinot’ meaning ‘lamentations’ are added to the service.

5. Ancient Rabbis said that the First Temple was destroyed because of the People of Israel’s sins and transgressions of God’s commandments, while the Second Temple was destroyed because of the people’s sins towards each other, which is referred to as ‘baseless hatred.’ This is why today, the eve of the fast, is devoted to activities with themes of brotherhood, unity, mutual respect despite differences, dialogue between groups of society, and the fight against racism and hatred.

We hope everyone’ fast will be accepted.

Photo: "The Destruction of Jerusalem" by the Italian painter Francesco Hayez, 1867. "

▶️Source: Ohad Merlin

#Fast #Temple #Religion #Prayer #Tisha_Bav
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