Tisha B’Av

Tisha-BAv-9

 

This year, Tisha B’Av falls on August 13.  However, that is a Shabbat and we do not fast on Shabbat unless it is for Yom Kippur.  Therefore, the fast for Tisha B’Av this year is observed on Sunday, August 14.

These are pictures I took of the inside of Arch of Titus in Rome, which commemorates Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Below is an article Baruch wrote concerning this fast day.

Tisha B’Av

The prophet Zechariah speaks concerning four fast days (see Zechariah 8:19).  Each of these fast days has something in common.  They relate to the Babylonian exile.  One of the worst words in Jewish culture is the word “exile”.  It relates to disobedience and failure, defeat and death, and a general loss of hope.  Zechariah relates to these four fast days by the months in which they take place.

“Thus said the L-rd of Hosts, ‘The fast of the fourth (month) and the fast of the fifth (month) and the fast of the seventh (month) and the fast of the tenth (month) will be to the House of Judah for joy and gladness and for good appointed times; truth and peace (you shall) love.’”

These four fast days appear according to the order of the months and not according to the chronological events to which they relate.  These fast days were known and are known today by the date that the related events took place.  Chronologically the first event took place on the 10th day of the 10th month.  This is the month of Tevet.  For it was on the 10th day of Tevet that Nebuchadnezzar began to lay siege on Jerusalem.  On the 17th day of the fourth month (Tammuz) the armies of Nebuchadnezzar broke through the walls of Jerusalem, which began a 3 week period of atrocities against the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  This period ended on the the ninth day of the fifth month.  The fifth month is called Av.  Av is the Hebrew word for Father.  The number 9 in Hebrew numerology relates to action/deed.  It was on the 9th day of Av, Tisha B’Av, that the first Temple was destroyed.  Judaism understands that this catastrophic event, although carried out by the Babylonians, was actually Divine punishment, because of Israel’s disobedience to their Heavenly Father.

The final fast day that is mentioned by Zechariah takes place in the seventh month.  Many times I hear people related the fast of the seventh month to Yom Kippur.  This is incorrect.  We have seen that three of the four fasts relate to the Babylonian captivity.  Therefore it would be unusual that the fourth one would have no connection to it.  Proper hermeneutical techniques would lead the reader to conclude that this fast, because it is mentioned in the same verse, must also relate to the Babylonian captivity.  The prophet Jeremiah reveals that in the seventh month the governor of Jerusalem, who Nebuchadnezzar placed in this position, was assassinated.  This assassination brought the wrath of Nebuchadnezzar on the residents of Jerusalem.  It was in memorial to this suffering that the sages of Israel proclaim the fast of Gedaliah (Gedaliah was the name of the governor).

The purpose of this article is to focus in on Tisha B’Av.  It has already been stated that the first Temple was destroyed on this date.  It is most significant and certainly not coincidental that the second Temple was also destroyed on this same date, Tisha B’Av.  The commemoration of the destruction of both temples on the 9th day of Av is not only by fasting, but also signs of mourning are observed.  In addition to this, the book of Lamentations is read in the synagogue on this day.  Although called Lamentations in English, in Hebrew the name of this book is Ehchah.  This word is composed from the Hebrew word “ech” with the letter Hay attached to it.  The Hebrew word “ech” means “how”.  So literally, the book of Lamentations is actually called in Hebrew, “How, O G-d?”  This name expresses the dismay and shock of the people that G-d would allow/cause His holy Temple to be destroyed.  The prophet Jeremiah spoke frequently of how the people took false hope that because there was a Temple in Jerusalem, that the city would never be captured by the nations.  But the Biblical truth is that G-d is not a respecter of persons.  In fact, He judges more severely His people.  The truth surrounding Tisha B’Av sends a strong message to those who have faith in G-d.  G-d holds those who have received Him and understand His truth to a higher standard than those who are walking in darkness.  As Yeshua taught, “To those who are given much, much will be required.”

It is wrong to assume that because of the Babylonian exile and destruction of the Temple that G-d was terminating His relationship with His people.  There is an important principle that we learn in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 8.  There G-d says that  He afflicts and puts His people in difficult circumstances so that in the end it will be good for them.  In other words, G-d will allow/cause His people to suffer, sometimes because of sin, sometimes because of persecution, not to destroy them, but to bring about the necessary change so that in the end the blessings and promises of G-d can be placed upon them.  The verse from Zechariah 8 supports this position.  For the four fast days that commemorate suffering of the Jewish people will in fact become appointed days that will express joy and gladness of the people and the goodness of G-d.  It is very significant that in Zechariah 8:19 there is a grammatical problem.  In speaking about these four fast days that will become for the house of Judah joy and gladness and appointed days of goodness, proper Hebrew would require the verb to also be plural since it modifies four fast days.  However, the verb is singular.   This is not an error, but what would seem to some to be a grammatical problem is really a point of revelation.  A singular verb is employed to show that these four fast days, and the events they commemorate, will actually bring about unity between G-d and His people.  How will this be accomplished?  This great suffering will cause the Jewish people to recognize their error and love (be committed to) truth.  The outcome of this will be shalom, i.e. eternal peace with G-d.

May I suggest to our non-Jewish friends who are followers of Yeshua that they might consider fasting with Israel during these four fasts.  Studying these events which are all found in the Scripture and perhaps even inviting your Jewish friends to your home for discussion of these things prior to each of these fast days.  Let us not separate ourselves from the traditions of Israel, especially when these traditions are Biblical and we can use them for Kingdom purposes.

 

 

 

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