Published Work

A Day Marked for Disaster

AMIT Woman 53:5 | 05/30/1991

Tisha B’Av (the ninth day of Av), a day of mourning and fasting, primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem.Indeed, the central focus of the Tisha B’Av service is the recitation of the book of Eichah (Lamentations), Jeremiah’s elegy on the suffering brought about by the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E. Over time, however, a number of other catastrophes have come to be associated with Tisha B’Av, among them the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, which is said to have taken place on Tisha B’Av. Even some events that did not take place on Tisha B`Av, such as the Crusades, are remembered on this day. The Talmud (Taanit 29a) confirms the inclusive nature of the day and refers to Tisha B’av as “a day marked for disaster”. Parallel to the broadening of Tisha B`Av`s historical significance, the liturgy has also been greatly expanded through the addition of kinot, dirges, which describe in dramatic poetic language the tragedies of the Jewish people.

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