Saturday, July 30, 2016
The Saddest Day of the Year--by Linden Malki
When the Israelites were at the border of the Promised Land on their way home of Egypt, they sent spies to check out the land. We know the story--twelve were sent out, and ten came back with reports of fortified cities and strong armies, and no hope. Only Joshua and Caleb had the faith that God would fulfill His promise. According to Jewish histories, this incident took place on the Ninth day of the Month of Av (or Ab) on the Jewish calendar. (This is a modified lunar calendar, and it gets out of synch with our calendar, but usually falls in July or August.) Because of their unbelief, God said that this date would bring catastrophe and mourning to later generations of Israel.
This date, in Hebrew "Tisha b/Av", was the date in 586 BC that Nebuchadnezzer's army destroyed Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, that the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70AD, and the Bar Kochba revolt in 135AD was crushed by the Romans and the temple area plowed and totally destroyed. There have been a number of other catastrophic events in the history of the Jewish communities down through the centuries on this date, such as the expulsion of the Jewish communities from England in 1290 and Spain in 1492, and one of the opening incidences of the First World War, which led to several decades of increasingly severe persecutions of the Jews of Europe--and eventual genocide.
Jewish communities around the world observe three weeks of mourning and a fast on the final day. This year is will be observed on August13-14. It is a reminder that although there are times to mourn, there is also hope. The Jewish people have withstood numerous attempts to destroy them, but they are still here.
Bad things can happen in our lives as well, but we are still taken care of . We can sympathize to a limited extent to the events of Tisha b/Av, as we saw our church sanctuary, our house of worship, destroyed by arson--not in August, but in the same month (October) as the 74th anniversary of our founding as a community. The fire, and the financial aftermath of our insurance company's collapse, have been a serious challenge. We did rebuild, and although we had to worship elsewhere for five years, we are back and cling to the faith that God has plans and a hope for us.