9 B’Av: Meaning and Customs

The Ninth of Av, Tisha B’Av is an annual fast day commemorating the tragedies that happened in Jewish history to the Jewish people. Why 9 B’av of all days? What are the customs and why do we commemorate it? Continue reading to discover.

Origin of Name

This fast day is named for the ninth day of Hebrew month Av, usually falls on July or August. The date was chosen in accordance with the Hebrew calendar as it was the destruction day of both First and Second Temple in Jerusalem, occurring about 655 years apart, but surprisingly on the same date.

Commemorating Jewish tragedies

In addition to these two events, according to biblical sources, when the Israelites waiting to enter the Promised Land after Exodus, the spies returned to inform them bad news of the land’s occupation by the Cnaanites. This event took place on the eight of Av, and is commemorated on Av 9th as another tragedy, since G-D was deeply disappointed from His people, denying them the dream of entering the land and permitting it 38 years later to their children.
Later on in history, on the same very date in the Hebrew calendar, Jews were expelled from England in the 13th century and Spain, a century later.

9 B’Av customs

Tisha B’Av is the culmination point of three weeks that begins with the fast of Tamuz 17th, commemorating the first breach in Jerusalem Temple. It is a period of mourning, refraining from Jewish celebrations, weddings and as of 9 B’Av, refraining from eating meat or drinking wine. In synagogues the book of Lamentations is chanted. It is a day of fasting as is Yom Kippur.

Similar to Yom Kippur, ninth of Av is a day of reflection on Jewish history, sufferings we have experienced, remembrance of the beautiful Temple in Jerusalem and mourning its loss. In addition, it is also a day to reflect on the suffering still occurring in the world, happening to the Jewish people and in other nations, and wishing for a better and brighter future for us all. On this day we remember and reflect upon our place and contribution to the world and history.
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