Shorashim - Hebrew for "Roots"
Shorashim - Hebrew for "Roots"

Tisha b'Av - The Black fast

A terrible day in Jewish history...

The destruction of the Holy Temple on Tisha b'Av

Tisha B'Av is simply the Hebrew way to say "the 9th of Av." It is a day that is so horrible to Jewish people that we only remember it as a date, without giving it any special name. It is one of the two most solemn days to Jewish people everywhere...

The "white fast" and the "black fast"

Yom Kippur, the other major fast day, is known as the "White Fast" because it reminds us of atonement. But this day, Tisha B'Av is known as the "Black Fast" because on it, we remember:

  • The day that the spies returned from their 40 day reconnaissance into the Promised Land. But, when only two came back still believing the promise, Israel wept.
  • The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians (421 BCE) under Nebuchadnezar. About 100,000 Jews were killed during the invasion; and the remaining tribes of the Southern Kingdom were cast into exile to Babylon and Persia.
  • Then, 500 years later, the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, under Titus (70 CE). Over 2,500,000 Jews died from famine, disease and the war itself. And then over 1,000,000 Jews were exiled to all parts of the Roman Empire. Over 100,000 were sold as slaves by the Romans who later made us build the Colloseum in Rome – even from many of the rocks used to build the Holy Temple in Jerusalem – and they then killed and tortured us in their gladiatorial "games" and pagan celebrations.
  • The Bar Kochba revolt was crushed in the village of Betar where over 100,000 Jews were killed (132 CE).
  • Exactly one year later, Turnus Rufus ploughed the site of the Temple, allowing the Romans to build the pagan city of Aelia Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem.
  • On Tisha B'Av in 1095 CE, the First Crusade was declared by Pope Urban II, with 10,000 Jews killed in the first month of the Crusade.
  • In 1290, on Tisha B'Av, the expulsion of all of the Jews from England was decreed, accompanied by pogroms and confiscation of books and all property.
  • The Spanish Inquisition in Spain and Portugal started on Tisha B'Av, which led to the expulsion of the all Jews

Even in more modern times

Children of the Shoah

Even in more modern times, Tisha B'Av has been a terrible day for the Jewish people:


  • On this day in 1914, Britain and Russia declared war on Germany (WW1), which itself led on to WW2 and the Sho'ah.
  • The deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka death camp began on the same day in 1942. This marked the start of the murder of over 6,000,000 Jewish men, women and children, which reduced the world Jewish population by two-thirds.
  • In 1994, on Tisha B'Av, the bombing of the Jewish community Centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killed 86 and wounded 300 - all were Jewish.

But remember this...

Zechariah 8:18-22 promises: 


"Again the word of the LORD Almighty came to me. This is what the LORD Almighty says: "The fasts of the fourth [the start of 3 weeks of mourning leading up to Tisha B’Av], fifth [Tisha B’Av], seventh [Yom Kippur] and tenth months [the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem] will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace."


This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, 'Let us go at once to entreat the LORD and seek the LORD Almighty. I myself am going.' And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the LORD Almighty and to entreat him."


May that day come soon, Lord God!


Until then, we shall remember...


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