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Friday, Menachem Av 7, 5781 / July 16, 2021


This Shabbat night & Sunday is Tisha B’Av(9th Av) – the fast of the nineth of Av, when we commemorate the destruction of the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem. The first Temple stood for 410 years and the second Temple for 420 years. The second Temple was built about 70 years after the destruction of the first Temple.


Q.   Everything is by Divine Providence. Why is it that both Temples were destroyed on the same day?


A.  Our sages say that G-d directs good events to happen on good days and bad events on bad days.  The 9th of Av was historically a sad day.  The Torah tells us that on that day, the 9th of Av, less than four months after the Exodus, the Jewish people refused to go into the Land of Israel. The Torah tells us that after the spies came back with a negative report, Jews cried that night and refused to go to Israel.  G-d then decreed that they will die in the desert. Only their children went into Israel forty years later.


Thus, the ninth day of Av was prone for punishment for the Jewish people, by their own choice, for refusing to go to the Promised Land.  When they sinned many years later, it was on that day that the Temples were destroyed, and they were driven out from their land.


We remember the destruction of the Temples through fasting, reciting special prayers which remind us of our great loss. We read from the Torah in which G-d warns the Jewish people about adhering to the Torah and mitzvot, especially in the land of Israel. We also recite the book of Lamentation.


Because Torah study brings joy to a person, we refrain from studying Torah during part of Tisha B’Av, except for the book of Lamentation and laws concerning mourning and stories related to the destruction of the Temple, found in the Talmud and Midrash. 


On Tisha B’Av we recite the Morning Prayer without the Talit and Tefillin. We will use them only for the Mincha service (afternoon prayer). 


Yet, with the mourning and fasting, we also have to keep in mind that all this is only temporary.  G-d promised through His prophets that in the end, when the right time comes, He will rebuild the Temple and there will be days of peace and tranquility to the people of Israel, to the Land of Israel and the entire world. For two thousand years we lived with the combination of mourning and hope, with sorrow and reassurance at the same time.


For two thousand years we believed that deep within the embers and ruins of destruction, G-d planted the seeds of our salvation.  Jews never lost hope and faith, even against all odds.  Two thousand years of Jewish history is proof of how true this is.  No matter how many times various nations tried to destroy us, even in our generation, in the end we not only survived, but came out stronger than before.


Some had a custom not to save the book containing the special prayers for Tisha B’Av. They would put it away with the hope that by next year Moshiach will be here, and these prayers of lamentation will never have to be put to use again.  May this be the last Tisha B’Av with the coming of Moshiach. Amen.



Montreal candle lighting time: 8:21 / Shabbat ends: 9:33