The Fast of the 9th of Av (Tisha B’Av)

August 18, 2020
Note: Holiday begins at sundown on August 17.

Tisha B’Av, the Ninth of Av, is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. Jews around the world gather together and mourn their state of spiritual exile, the Holy Temple, destroyed, not once, but twice, and the diaspora that has been the home of tragedy after tragedy.

Even before the great tragedy of the destruction of the First Temple (586 BCE), Tisha B’Av was already marked as a day of sadness. It was on the ninth day of Av that the spies returned to the People of Israel in the wilderness to discourage them from going up to Canaan (Numbers 13,14). Because the Israelites were so easily dissuaded, and so greatly lacking faith in G-d, they were forbidden to enter the Promised Land and destined to wander for forty years until that generation had passed away.

As part of the mourning ritual marking the destructions, the Ninth of Av is a fast day. More than just refraining from eating, Jews spend Tisha B’Av actively mourning.