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Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av Tisha B'Av ("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 490 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date.[1] Accordingly, the day has been called the "saddest day in Jewish history".[2] Five calamities: According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), five specific events occurred on the ninth of Av that warrant fasting:
1. 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. (See Numbers Ch. 1314)
2. The First Temple built by King Solomon and the Kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar on July 11, 422 BCE (in Jewish Calendar av 9, 3338) and the Judeans were sent into the Babylonian exile.
3. The Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah was destroyed by the Romans on August 2, 68 CE (in Jewish Calendar av 9, 3828), 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.
4. The Romans crushed Bar Kokhba's revolt and destroyed the city of Betar, killing over 100,000 Jews, on July 8, 132 CE (in Jewish Calendar av 9, 3892).
5. Following the Roman siege of Jerusalem, Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Temple and the surrounding area, in 133 CE. 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, beginning 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
1. No eating or drinking
2. No washing or bathing
3. No application of creams or oils
4. No wearing of leather shoes
5. No marital relations These restrictions are waived in the case of health issues. For example, those who are seriously ill may eat and drink. According to the Orthodox-Mizrachi establishment, combat soldiers are absolved of fasting on Tisha B'Av on the basis that it can endanger their lives.
The latest of such decrees were issued during the Second Lebanon War by leading Rabbinical authorities Israel's Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger in tandem with the IDF's chief rabbi, Brigadier General Yisrael Weiss. 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. Additional customs Torah study is forbidden on Tisha B'av (as it is considered a spiritually 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.
 

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