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Wednesday, Menachem Av 8, 5780 / July 29, 2020


Tonight (Wednesday night), begins the fast of Tisha B’Av (9th of Av). The fast lasts through Thursday. It is about a 25 hour fast. Check the exact time when the fast begins and ends in your city.   


Q.   What tragedies befell the Jewish people on the 9th of Av – Tisha B’Av?


A.    Both Holy Temples were destroyed on this day (about 500 years apart).  


Also, on Tisha B’Av, G-d decreed that the men, between the ages of 20-60, who came out of Egypt, will die in the desert for refusing to enter into the Promised Land. 


In addition to burning the Temple, the Romans decreed that the site where the Holy Temple stood be plowed and desecrated.


Another occurrence on Tisha B’Av was the falling of the city of Betar, from where Bar Kochba fiercely fought the Romans. Many hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed in Betar.


On the 9th of Av in the year 5252 (1492) Jews were expelled from Spain.


Q.  Why is the Book of Lamentations, which is read on Tisha B'Av and which describes the destruction of the Holy Temple not required to be written on parchment like the Megilat Esther (Scroll of Esther), which recalls the miracle of Purim and must be written on parchment like a Torah?


A.  There is a fundamental difference between Purim and Tisha B'Av.  Our sages tell us that Purim will be an everlasting holiday. When Moshiach will come, we will still be celebrating Purim. Thus, the story of Purim is recorded on parchment, for it is permanent, just as the rest of the Torah. 


However, the story of Tisha B'Av which deals with Jewish suffering and the destruction of the Temples is temporaryWhen Moshiach will come and G-d will rebuild the Holy Temple - the day of Tisha B'Av will be transformed into a holiday of rejoicing. Thus, we do not record the Book of Lamentations, which we read on Tisha B'Av, on parchment.


Due to the fact that on the 9th of Av we are all considered mourners, Thursday’s morning (Shacharit) prayer is recited without the Tallit and Tefillin. Instead, we will wear them for the afternoon (Mincha) prayer.


The Talmud says, "Whoever mourns for Jerusalem and the Temples will ultimately merit to see and partake in its rejoicing!"  May we merit the coming of Moshiach and the rebuilding of the Temple.  May it be speedily in our days.  Amen.




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