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What happened on the Ninth of Av?

What happened on the Ninth of Av?

A Historical Overview


The 9th of Av, Tisha b'Av, commemorates a list of catastrophes so severe it's clearly a day set aside by G‑d for suffering.

Picture this: The year is 1313 BCE. The Israelites are in the desert, recently having experienced the miraculous Exodus, and are now poised to enter the Promised Land. But first they dispatch a reconnaissance mission to assist in formulating a prudent battle strategy. The spies return on the eighth day of Av and report that the land is unconquerable. That night, the 9th of Av, the people cry. They insist that they'd rather go backThe Jews were shocked to realize that their Second Temple was destroyed the same day as the first to Egypt than be slaughtered by the Canaanites. G‑d is highly displeased by this public demonstration of distrust in His power, and consequently that generation of Israelites never enters the Holy Land. Only their children have that privilege, after wandering in the desert for another 38 years.

The First Temple was also destroyed on the 9th of Av (423 BCE). Five centuries later (in 69 CE), as the Romans drew closer to the Second Temple, ready to torch it, the Jews were shocked to realize that their Second Temple was destroyed the same day as the first.

When the Jews rebelled against Roman rule, they believed that their leader, Simon bar Kochba, would fulfill their messianic longings. But their hopes were cruelly dashed in 133 CE as the Jewish rebels were brutally butchered in the final battle at Betar. The date of the massacre? Of course—the 9th of Av!

One year after their conquest of Betar, the Romans plowed over the Temple Mount, our nation's holiest site.

The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 CE on, you guessed it, Tisha b'Av. In 1492, the Golden Age of Spain came to a close when Queen Isabella and her husband Ferdinand ordered that the Jews be banished from the land. The edict of expulsion was signed on March 31, 1492, and the Jews were given exactly four months to put their affairs in order and leave the country. The Hebrew date on which no Jew was allowed any longer to remain in the land where he had enjoyed welcome and prosperity? Oh, by now you know it—the 9th of Av.

The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 CE on, you guessed it, Tisha b'AvReady for just one more? World War II and the Holocaust, historians conclude, was actually the long drawn-out conclusion of World War I that began in 1914. And yes, amazingly enough, Germany declared war on Russia, effectively catapulting the First World War into motion, on the 9th of Av, Tisha b'Av.

What do you make of all this? Jews see this as another confirmation of the deeply held conviction that history isn't haphazard; events – even terrible ones – are part of a Divine plan and have spiritual meaning. The message of time is that everything has a rational purpose, even though we don't understand it.

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Discussion (91)
February 18, 2016
9/11 connection
WTC demolition on September 11 analogy is that the month of Av is the 11th of the civil year.
Jan Olof Dahlin
February 14, 2016
Coinciding dates July 4, 1716 and the 17th of Tishri
Here's something for your brain cells to munch on:
The 17 of Tamuz = broken tablets.
In 1776 coincides with July 4.

Now read the history and all of the things that got in the way of the Declaration of Independence of the 13 colonies being ratified and signed on that particular day. It is interesting reading when one takes the coinciding dates into consideration.
February 11, 2016
This is well beyond coincidence. 400 years the Hebrews in captivity of Egypt, called out to G-d for deliverance and whe He brought them out they wanted to go back. This day 9th Av is a repeating reminder of ingratitude that we should all take note of.
Tim Janes
January 26, 2016
mass deportations from the Warsaw ghetto - yadvashem polish holocaust
"On July 22, 1942, on the eve of the Ninth of Av in the Jewish calendar, the Germans began the mass deportations from the Warsaw ghetto. By the time they ended on September 21, Yom Kippur, some 260,000 inhabitants of the ghetto had been deported to the Treblinka extermination camp."
January 8, 2016
Re: Jewish Chronology
With regards to the question of Jewish chronology, please see my comments on the article The Second Temple is Built
Yehuda Shurpin for
January 4, 2016
Jewish Chronology Chabad staff 7-19- 2015
To the Chabad staff. Jewish chronology for purposes of observance is different than the real world historical dates. Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in his book, Jewish Literacy, states the fall of the First Temple as 586 BCE.
Robert Berkovits
Annapolis Md.
January 1, 2016
Wansee Conference
It is my recollection that the Wansee Conference was held on Ja. 20, 1942. At that conference, the Nazi hierarchy determined that the annihilation of the Jews was the only solution to the "Jewish Problem." If I am correct, that fell on Tisha B'Av, as well. And so, the Germans who were generally a legalistic people, having codified in law the legal isolation of our co-religionists just a decade before, orally agreed to the destruction of an entire people in a manner unparalleled in human history.
Jay H. Ginsburg, Esq.
Norristown, PA
December 20, 2015
Query AV 9 Origin
I found another explanation for the origin of the curse. When did the golden calf incident take place? Please consider this a research question. Thanks.
Oregon City, OR
August 18, 2015
I appreciate your hard work lined out here, as well as your gentle and patient answers to questions below. Our God is a God of order and timeliness!
July 28, 2015
9/11 not 9 Av
The Jewish year does not start in January-so Av is not the 11th month.
September is the 9th month anyway. Tuesday 11 September 2001 is 23 Elul 5761
The 9th of Av in 2001 was 29 July.
South Africa