The Three weeks:
Our period of mourning starts and ends in fasting beginning on the 17th of Tamuz, July 20 and continues till August 10.
The Fast of 9TH OF Av is on Tisha B’Av. August 9 Saturday evening till August 10th evening.
What is the 17th of Tamuz?
When Moses descended from heaven to bring us the sacred tablets a frightful sight was beheld upon his meeting the nation. A group of Jews created a Golden Calf. Moses than broke the tablets containing the Ten Commandments. These tablets were our life long distinction between the Jews and gentile nations. One of the commandments clearly stated not to make idolatrous images. Moses couldn’t present to the chosen people their beloved Tablets at this time. During this time period we don’t have weddings, cut our hair, buy new clothing and listen to music to commemorate this sad time with the Jewish people all over the world. A Jew in Europe is also feeling for their brethren in South America and those in Israel are thinking of their sisters in North America. The assimilation and intermarriage is also cried about and people cry for their lost ones. It’s a time of reflection and thought provoking by world Jewry on how we can make a difference in our level of devotion to the Creator of Jerusalem and its’ destroyed Ancient Holy Temple. We remember our families and use this time to reach out to them.
Every family builds their own temple in their home. Today, all Jewish houses should have a piece in their home not finished to always remind themselves that their temple that they are making can’t be complete until the Ancient Holy Temple is rebuilt again.
All over the world most religious homes have a big white square of paint missing near the entrance way to always remind of us our deep loss. If you know of someone who is sick in the family not only should one make a call and see how they are feeling but visit them and give them a feeling of warmth and friendship. On this date in history other catastrophes happened as well.
- A siege surrounded Jerusalem’s walls during the First Temple.
- Today, our people only have an outside wall, Kotel that all of World Jewry recognizes as our wall of our outside Temple. This reminder of our sacred temple and the quench that will always be with in us till it is rebuilt. This Temple can’t be physically built by the hands of Man but by our spiritual deeds that are assembling it above in heaven. The same place that our tablets were created! A miracle of miracles.
- The priests were forced to stop bringing the daily offerings during the First Temple Period for their livestock was depleted when the siege took hold.
- Moses had to make atonement for the sin created by the golden calf. He punished the Jews that participated in the creation of the Golden Calf to which the daily offerings likewise or similarity would normally atone for our sins. This atonement wasn’t enough and forever we have this sin on our heads as a reminder of our potentials either we can choose evil or good. The women were asked if their jewelry could be taken from them to help create the Golden Calf and their response was NO! We will not donate for a cause that is blasphemous to G-d. It is the women today that can create that same atonement and use their emotional and physical wealth to create a home of Torah and beauty or a home of selfishness and brazenness.
- The Evil Roman General burned our sacred Torah which embodied our tablets.
- Similar to the breaking of our holy tablets.
- A revolting idol was brought into the temple by our enemies.
- A disgusting idol was created – Golden Calf.
One can argue and say what they want but similar actions happen through out history:
In the year 1492, Exile of Spanish Jewry happened on Tisha B’Av
In 1939 World War II, the beginning of the Holocaust , also began on a Tisha B’Av.
9th of Av is Tisha B’Av
On August 1 (evening), the nine days of mourning start for the Jewish people. The nine days lead up to the destruction of the temple occurring on Saturday (evening), August 9-August 10 (day). This day is called the Ninth of Jewish calendar month AV. This was a very sad day for Jewish people through out history. We fast from the evening of August 9th till Sunday August 10th evening. Many synagogues through out the world give lectures and read the megillah (book of Eicha). This was about a prophet (a high priest) who foresaw the destruction and begged the Jewish people to repent. He even ran to the Jewish people while they were in the mitts of exile (with their chains on being led out of Israel) and told them if you had only listened. Today, we can understand the calumniates of destruction and death a lot more than ever before. The explosions of 9/11/2001 and mass bombings in Israel are just indicators that destruction can happen and that each person has tremendous opportunity. They can use their energy for evil (9/11) or for good (like donating blood etc…) The prophet is still warning us of our need to work on our actions. If you have time to do a deed call up an organization today and volunteer. Every organization needs your time and could do with an hour a week etc… Many students during the summer sit and play games and chat on the internet. Give up an hour of that time and do something that can make a difference for you and some one in need of help. Call your teacher from school or local Rabbi for some brainstorming ideas of what you can do this summer to make a difference.
Other Links to visit on the three weeks:
Rav Leff on the 17th of Tamuz