Model of the Second Temple



History

On Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, Jews fast and mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples, and other tragedies of Jewish history associated with this date. The Jewish expulsion from Spain occurred on this date in 1492, as did the deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp and the 1994 Hizbollah terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Argentina where 86 people died. Also, Jews were expelled from England on this date in 1290, the First Crusade started on this date in 1095, resulting in the death of thousands of Jews, and the Bar Kochba rebellion was crushed on this date in the year 132. Yet, the worst thing to happen on Tisha B'Av was the destruction of the two Holy Temples.

Western Wall (foreground) and Dome of the Rock (background) King Solomon built the First Temple in Jerusalem (currently, the Muslim Dome of the Rock sits above the spot). In 586 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple. Over 100,000 Jews were killed and the rest were exiled to remote locations in Babylon and Persia. In 70 CE, Titus and the Romans destroyed the Second Temple (pictured in a model on far left) that Herod built. Over two and a half million Jews died from execution, battles, famine and disease. Another million Jews were exiled to part of the Roman empire. After the fall of the Second Temple, most Jews remained in the Diaspora until the beginning of the modern Zionist movement. All that is left of the Holy Temple is one side of the exterior wall that surrounded the Temple. This wall is Judaism's holiest site and is known as the Western, or Wailing, Wall (seen in the lower right side of the picture to the left, with the Dome of the Rock in the background).

PracticesMan Praying at the Western Wall

Jews anticipate Tisha B'Av three weeks before it arrives. This year, Tisha B'Av will be ovserved beginning at sundown on August 8, 2011. On Shiva Asar B' Tammuz, a minor fast day, the walls around Jerusalem were breached by enemy invaders, whose assault culminated three weeks later on Tisha B'Av, when the Temple was destroyed. The three weeks are a mourning period and many people refrain from wedding celebrations or from listening to music. The last nine days of the mourning are intensified, with prohibitions against swimming, eating meat, and drinking wine on any day except for Shabbat. Since Tisha B'Av is a major fast day, it is similar to Yom Kippur in observance. Jews will fast on the day and refrain from bathing, working, having sex, wearing cosmetics, shaving and wearing leather shoes. The book of Lamentations is read on the night of Tisha B'Av, describing Jerusalem's destruction. Also, books that mark sad events, like the book of Job, are studied on the day of Tisha B'Av.