Tisha B’Av – considered to be the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.
Tisha B’Av is a time of sadness, it is a time of reflecting. On the Jewish calendar it is the 9th of Av. It is a moving date on our calendars: anywhere from late July to early August. This year it was on August 7th. Tisha B’Av is not found in scripture but its roots are. According to the Jewish scholars of old, Tisha B’Av began with the account of the 12 Spies found in Numbers 13:17-33. The spies had returned telling stories of how wonderful the land was. They brought back grapes, pomegranates and figs. They stated that the land was filled with “milk and honey”. But the 10 spies “spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they explored. They said, ‘The land we explored devours those living in it.’” They lied! The results of those lies caused the Israelites to grumble against Moses, they wanted to go back to Egypt, and they even talked of stoning Moses. The penalty for this disobedience – 40 years wandering in the desert! I wonder if during these 40 years people had the opportunity to reflect on their past actions. I wonder if they wept over what they missed out on. The ancient rabbinical scholars quote God as saying about this event, "You cried before me pointlessly, I will fix for you [this day as a day of] crying for the generations", alluding to the future misfortunes which occurred on the same date.
Tisha B’Av – why would this be considered a time of sadness? Years later, two significant and catastrophic events would take place – meaningful to the Jewish people. In 586 BC, Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the people were sent to Babylon. In 70 AD, the Second Temple was destroyed by the Roman armies and the Jewish people went into exile. This was the beginning of the Diaspora – the Jewish people scattering to distant lands.
In today’s world one might not think too much of these two events – the destruction of two temples. Doing a little reading of God’s Word we see the people weren’t exactly being obedient and following God’s ways. But, here’s where it gets interesting. The following events either happened on Tisha B’Av or really, really close to it.
1. The first crusade in 1096 – killed 10,000 Jews
2. The Jews were expelled from England in 1290; France in 1306; Spain in 1492. (I personally find this 1492 date interesting and wonder how it ties in with the travels of Christopher Columbus.)
3. On 2 August 1941 (9th of Av), SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for "The Final Solution." As a result, the Holocaust began during which almost one third of the world's Jewish population perished. (Wikipedia)
Contemporary scholars have estimated that there are upwards of 500 events that have negatively impacted and effected the Jewish people, and Israel. And many committed by people espousing faith in Christianity.
Other than the dates, what might tie all these events together? Separation from God! Disobedience! Disobedience leading to separation! Hatred or resentment of the Jews; has God abandoned His people?! Is this cause for sadness? Is it a time of mourning loss? If this is all it is – then what’s the point? People will find themselves in a perpetual loop of depression and loss. What does the Lord want us to learn from all this? To stay regretful for the loss of the temple? How does this apply to the believer today? The temple is within every believer who calls Him Lord!!!! Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? I Cor. 6:19
The purpose of mourning at this time is NOT to reflect on what the Jewish people don’t have – which they will naturally do anyway. It is the realization that they desperately need God in their lives. YES - this applies to all of us (the believer & non-believer). We need to yearn for Him, and desire to draw close to Him, honoring Him in all we say and do. To spend time with Him, desiring to understand His Word, being grateful and appreciative of all He’s done for us. Does the time we spend with our Lord reflect accurately the love we say we have for Him?
Tisha B’Av is an interesting time on which to reflect. I know I have not done this justice; there’s much I’ve left out. But I do hope I’ve planted a seed of how the Lord continues to use circumstances of the todays to draw those who do not yet believe in Yeshua into a realization of their separation from God. For those of us who trust and believe in Yeshua we can be grateful for this time of remembrance, that we have the Spirit of the Living God within us, and to pray for the people of the Jewish faith to become one with Yeshua.