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What Happened on the Ninth of Av?

What Happened on the Ninth of Av?


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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Maayan Toronto via July 31, 2017

expulsion from Gush Katif also happened
the day after 9 beAv :( Reply

Don Salinas, CA July 27, 2017

What Happened on the Ninth of Av? I am amazed at the way Life is mapped so perfectly. Thank you for the Light you are bringing to my Life. Truly wonderful. I am discovering a meaning I never thought possible. Reply

Anthony Bisaccio Wayne,NJ July 15, 2017

US Supreme Court strikes down biblical marriage laws & rules for gay marriage on June 26, 2015, which was the 9th of av that year. Is this the USA's outer wall being breached? I this Godlessness continues, will the USA, or as I have researched & believe, the Daughter of Babylon, will be destroyed? Reply

Chris Vercelli December 22, 2017
in response to Anthony Bisaccio:

Was the 9th of Av that year June 26th or july 26th? Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for via August 16, 2016

Re: Dates of the English and Spanish expulsions Regarding the dates of the expulsion from in England in the year 1290 and from Spain in 1492. What is important to keep in mind is that in those years the julian calendar not the gregorian calendar was in effect. Now, I’m not sure what you used to calculate the dates, but if you use any of the julian\gregorian\hebrew date converters available online you will see that the date that the English expulsion was signed i.e. July 18 1290 (again in the Julian calendar) was indeed the ninth of Av.

With regards to the Spanish expulsion, the decree was signed in March 31 1492 giving them until July 31 of that years to either convert or leave the country. Again, I’m unsure how you calculated the dates, by July 31st 1492 in the julian calendar falls out on the 7th of Av. However, it appears that the Jews were given a few extra days to actually get out of Spain and the last of the jews left on August 2 i.e. the 9-10th of Av. While it is true that some historians insists that the Jews left on the 7th of Av, the great Jewish philosopher, scholar and statesman, Don Isaac Abarbanel who was actually part of King Ferdinand's government and left Spain together with the rest of the Jews who were expelled from Spain, writes that [although the king didn’t know this when the decree was made] the day the Jews left was on the 9th of Av.

Additionally, Ben Tzion Netanyahu who is considered one of, if not “the” foremost expert on the period of the Spanish expulsion (not to be confused with his son also “B Netanyahu” current prime minister of Israel) disagrees with the historians who insist on the july 31/ 7h of Av date, and agrees that indeed it seems that the last Jews actually left on the 9-10th of Av. (for his discussion on this, see for example B. Netanyahu ‘Don Isaac Abravanel: Statesman & Philosopher’ ch. 2 fn# 74) Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for August 16, 2016

Re: Date of the destruction of the first Temple Regarding the date of the destruction of the first temple, Kings II 25:8-10 gives the date as the 7th of Av, in Jeremiah 52:-12-14 however, it states that the Temple was burnt on the 10th of Av. The Midrash Seder Olam Rabah (ch. 27) explains the destruction started on the 7th and culminated on the 10th. On the tenth it was burnt down.

The Talmud Taanit 29a explains that they lit the fires to burn the Temple on the ninth and it continued burning into the 10th of Av. Based on this one of the sages of the Talmud felt that perhaps they should have instituted the fast on the 10th since that is when it was burnt down. However, in the end the sages established the 9th as the fast day since they held that the “beginning of the tragedy” takes precedence. This all has relevance, as the laws of mourning are stricter from the 7th of Av, and the prohibitions of the nine days actually continue until midday of the 10th.

Will discuss the English and Spanish expulsions in a separate comment. Reply

Dr. Jay Freifelder East Village August 15, 2016

9th of Av, Tisha b'AV Amazing collection of data on this time in Jewish history. Reply

Jesse Eek August 14, 2016

Imagine if everything would be random That's the world we live in today - people are made believed that nothing has a purpose at all. Now that's a great tragedy! Reply

Ronley Petach Tikva August 14, 2016

WW1 declared 28 July 1914, - 5Av 5674 The first world war was declared on 28th July 1914, which corresponds to 5th of Av, and not 9th Av. Reply

Claudia Sanchez NM August 14, 2016

We are not forgotten we stand before our Holy One Reply

Yehuda Shurpin for August 14, 2016

Re: Jerome The fast of Tisha Beav is mentioned in Zechariah 8:19 which talks about the fast of the fifth month eventually being transformed to a day of joy with the coming of the Messiah. That is a reference to the fast of the 9th of Av. The month of Av being the fifth month from Nissan (in scripture, Jewish months are always counted from Nisan). As for the other restrictions, they are for the most part the same restriction that apply to mourners in general. Reply

Jason Sommers August 14, 2016

I am puzzled by your dates. Was the first temple not destroyed on the 5th of AV?
England decreed the expulsion of the Jews to take effect on 18 July 1290 which in the Hebrew calendar is 2 Av less 10 days for the adjustment of the calendar would make it 22 Tamuz?
Spain decreed on 31 July 1492 which is 27 Tamuz less 10 days as above would make it around 17 Tamuz.
While these dates show that the "3 weeks" are an inauspicious time for the Jews is it not factually dishonest to ascribe it to the 9 AV would it not be more honest to give correct dates?
If I am mistaken on my date calculation please I would love to hear how you calculate the dates so that I can get my facts right. Reply

Anonymous August 2, 2017
in response to Jason Sommers:

I believe your adjustments for the Julian calendar are in the wrong direction. Reply

Walter Bingham (Arutz 7) Jerusalem via August 14, 2016

You need to add that it was immediately after Tisha B'Av that Gush Katif was destroyed. Reply

Terena Puckett Illinois August 13, 2016

Thank you for sharing this Reply

Jerome Vaillancourt Santa Fe August 11, 2016

Is fasting on 9the av a torah command or a rabbinical tradition? Reply

Aurele London May 14, 2017
in response to Jerome Vaillancourt:

It is neither. It was not introduced by the rabbis. It was a tradition after the spies returned from Israel and told lies about the land that the fast was made into tradition among the Israelite population. Reply

Yehuda Poch August 2, 2017
in response to Jerome Vaillancourt:

It's a rabbinical injunction that has the weight of a commandment. Reply

Jerry Frazier St. Louis MO August 11, 2016

Excellent article!!! I agree. The dates in history, the 9th of AV holds great significance. The events hold great spiritual truth, meaning, and lesson. We should pay attention. JDF Reply

Nancy Alexander Hackensack August 10, 2016

Tisha b'Av It seems to always rain during Tisha b'Av. Even as a child I remember in late July, early August that vacations had to be planned around Tisha b'Av. (My family is more secular than most of your readers.) I've always found the numerical symbols in our religion to be fascinating.Thank you for keeping me informed. Reply

Anonymous Indiana July 27, 2016

Get a Hebrew calendar so you can compare it to our Gregorian calendar--It's fun and quite educational. God Bless To: 9/11 not 9th of Av and Sept. is 11th month-----The Hebrew calendar starts on our April which makes September the 6th month on the Hebrew calendar. Reply

Jan Olof Dahlin Idaho via 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. Reply

Yehuda Poch August 2, 2017
in response to Jan Olof Dahlin:

The month of Av is the equivalent of July-August on the civil calendar, and is the fifth month on the Biblical Hebrew calendar that counts from the "First Month" in the spring, which is called Nisan. However, if you count the Jewish Year from Rosh Hashana, which takes place in September or October, and the month in which the Jewish calendar year begins, then the month of Av is the 11th month of the Jewish calendar. Reply

Scott NA 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. Reply

Tim Janes 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. Reply