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When Was the Holy Temple Destroyed?

When Was the Holy Temple Destroyed?

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Hi,

I know we always mark the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av as the day the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.

But I read in Jeremiah 52:12 that the Temple was burnt on the 10th of Av.

Am I understanding the verse correctly? Can you explain the discrepancy?

Answer:

Your understanding of the verse is correct. Jeremiah 52:12-13 tells us regarding the destruction of the first Temple (Beit Hamikdash):

And in the 5th month, on the 10th of the month... Nebuzaradan, the chief executioner, came and stood before the king of Babylon in Jerusalem. And he burnt the house of G‑d and the king's palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem and all the houses of the dignitaries he burnt with fire.

It seems clear from these verses that the Temple was actually burned on the 10th day of the 5th month, the Jewish month of Av.

To complicate matters, the Talmud points out another discrepancy. The book of Kings II relates the same event (25:8-9):

And in the 5th month, on the 7th of the month...Nebuzaradan, chief executioner, servant of the king of Babylonia, came to Jerusalem. And he burnt the house of G‑d and the king's palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem and all the houses of the dignitaries he burnt with fire.

These verses use nearly the same exact wording as Jeremiah, with one big difference, a different date. So was the Temple burnt on the 7th, the 9th, or the 10th of Av?

The beginning of the destruction of the Temple actually spanned all of those dates. The Talmud explains that, on the 7th of Av, the Babylonians entered the Temple building and boisterously celebrated their victory by eating and drinking and vandalizing the holy place. This continued through the 9th day of the month. Towards evening on the 9th day, they set fire to the Temple, and it burned through the night and well into the 10th day. Thus, the Temple was entered by the enemy and defiled on the 7th, set ablaze on the 9th, while most of the burning occurred on the 10th.1

This was also the case for the second Holy Temple. It was set fire to before sunset on the 9th day and burnt through most of the 10th day.2

Since the actual burning of the Temple began on the 9th, we mark the destruction on this day. However, we also observe certain mourning rituals until midday on the 10th of Av, since the burning continued on this day.3

Please see History: The Destruction of the Temples..

Malkie Janowski
for The Judaism Website – Chabad.org

Footnotes
1.

Talmud, Taanit 29a.

2.

Talmud, ibid.

3.

The Code of Jewish Law, 558:1.

Malkie Janowski is an accomplished educator who lives in Coral Springs, Florida. Mrs. Janowski is also a responder on Chabad.org's Ask the Rabbi team.
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Charles Richman Fripp Island, SC July 15, 2013

9th of Av Included on the 9th of Av is the Spanish Inquisition and most recently the dismantling of the religious communities, Gush Katif. The aftermath of the former was the death of and conversion of Jewish Sepharadim, and the latter was the 13, 900 rockets launched from "Gaza" into Eretz Yisroel. Reply

David Freeman oldham UK November 24, 2012

Destruction of second temple What war the Jewish Year of the desruction of the second temple? Reply

David Jankowski July 24, 2012

Date of Jeremiah Thanks. This answer makes sense. Reply

Anonymous Boulder, CO September 16, 2011

Very clear and informative article. Thanks! Reply

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