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Tisha B'Av

gnomi and I are staying home from work today, because today on the Jewish calendar is Tisha B'Av.

Tisha B'Av, which literally means the ninth of Av, is a fast day and a day of mourning. It primarily commemorates the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and of the second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE.

This time of year has tended to be a bad one in Jewish history. For example, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 CE also took place on Tisha B'Av. But it's not just today that we commemorate. Three weeks ago we noted the 17th of Tammuz, the day that the Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem back in 70 CE. So the past three weeks have been somber ones for us. (And the recent war taking place in Israel and Lebanon began on the 17th of Tammuz; I must admit I'm a little worried about what might happen today.)

As many of my friends have noted, observing a fast day during a heat wave is a difficult thing. Which is why Nomi and I have decided not to tax ourselves today. We're staying at home, doing our best to keep cool.

To my friends who are fasting, may you have an easy fast. To my non-Jewish friends, here's another window on our culture.

For more information:
Judaism 101: Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av: A Chronology of Destruction -- OU.ORG

Copyright © Michael Burstein

Comments

are you "allowed" to drink water during this fast? it would be very dangerous in this heat to not stay hydrated.
We are not supposed to drink water during this fast. However, someone whose health would be endangered by not drinking would actually be obligated to drink. One is supposed to live by the Torah and not die by it.
short fasts are often more way more strict than longer-termed ones, so i thought i'd ask.

i suspect that your rabbi would agree with the doctors and weathermen that in this heat, everyone's health would be endangered by not drinking water (and plenty of it). please hydrate!
All fast days on the Jewish calendar = no eating or drinking. The duration may be dawn to dusk, or dusk to dusk, but the strictures on eating and drinking are the same.
No, but I am, anyway.



What's your take on all this idiocy with Mel Gibson? It seems to me like the whole "reaching out to the Jewish community for healing" thing is nothing more than a political move. I don't think that embarassment, even on the scale of what you would think he would be feeling right now is enough to change someone's heart if they're truly anti-semitic (or bigoted in any way, for that matter).
Honestly, I care very little about what Mel Gibson says or does. It seems to me that his true feelings came out during his drunken rant, and now he's doing damage control.

I've only seen two things Gibson was ever involved with: his appearance on Saturday Night Live and the movie Chicken Run. Neither of those have been diminished for me due to his behavior.
It's actually been cooler at the store than at home, so...
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