Tuesday, August 5, 2014

His Story ~ Tisha B'Av

I had a different post planned, but last night at sundown began Tisha B'Av or the 9th of Av.

And I just can't get the significance of this day out of my mind.

Av is the 5th month of the biblical calendar. It's a holiday. But not a particularly happy one. This day and those right around it are even referenced in the bible.
...Should I weep in the fifth month [Av], separating myself, as I have done these so many years? -Zechariah 7:3
In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month ...came Nebuzaradan ... and he burnt the house of the L-RD... -II Kings 25:8-9
In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month... came Nebuzaradan ... and he burnt the house of the L-RD... - Jeremiah 52:12-13
This day is a day of sad remembering.

Traditionally it is a day of mourning for the loss of both Israel's first and second Temple. Both. Because they both were destroyed on the same day of the year. About 700 years apart.

It's also kind of mind blowing when one looks at just what else is remembered this day. Scratch that. Not kind of. It's nothing short of amazing.
Through their history, Israel has seen many tragic event fall on or right around this day.

From Wikipedia...

"According to the Mishnah (Taanit 4:6), five specific events occurred on the ninth of Av:
  1. The twelve spies sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan returned from their mission. Only two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, brought a positive report, while the others spoke disparagingly about the land. The majority report caused the Children of Israel to cry, panic and despair of ever entering the "Promised Land". For this, they were punished by God that their generation would not enter the land. Because of the Israelites' lack of faith, God decreed that for all generations this date would become one of crying and misfortune for their descendants.
  2. The First Temple built by King Solomon and the Kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE (Anno Mundi [AM] 3175) after a two-year siege and the Judaeans were sent into the Babylonian exile. According to the Talmud in tractate Ta'anit, the destruction of the First Temple began on the Ninth of Av and the Temple continued to burn throughout the Tenth of Av.
  3. The Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah was destroyed by the Romans in August 70 CE (AM 3830), scattering the people of Judea and commencing the Jewish exile from the Holy Land.
  4. The Romans crushed Bar Kokhba's revolt and destroyed the city of Betar, killing over 100,000 Jews, on July 8, 132 CE (Av 9, AM 3892).[6]
  5. Following the Bar Kokhba revolt, Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Temple and the surrounding area, in 133 CE.[7]
Other calamities associated with Tisha B'Av:
  • The episode of the Golden calf (17th of Tammuz) in which the Hebrews, after their exodus from Egypt, reintroduced idolatry as a form of spirituality.[8][9]
  • The First Crusade officially commenced on August 15, 1096 (Av 24, AM 4856), killing 10,000 Jews in its first month and destroying Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland. 1.2 million Jews were killed by this crusade that started on the 9th of Av.[6][10]
  • The Jews were expelled from England on July 18, 1290 (Av 9, AM 5050).[6]
  • The Jews were expelled from France on July 22, 1306 (Av 10, AM 5066).
  • The Jews were expelled from Spain on July 31, 1492 (Av 7, AM 5252).[7]
  • Germany entered World War I on August 1–2, 1914 (Av 9-10, AM 5674), which caused massive upheaval in European Jewry and whose aftermath led to the Holocaust.[6]
  • On August 2, 1941 (Av 9, AM 5701), SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for "The Final Solution". As a result, the Holocaust began during which almost one third of world's Jewish population perished.
  • On July 23, 1942 (Av 9, AM 5702), began the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.   

    I look at that list and I can't believe it. Yet I can. I don't necessarily understand why these things have all happened on this day but to think it's insignificant would be foolish. In my last post on His Story  talked of how we, the church, seem to have forgotten that God said Israel is His people. If we are His people also it only means we become part of them. So this history is our history.

What is it about this sad day? And is there more catastrophe to come? Of course we don't know, but I believe we'd be wise to watch and pray. And trust. Because we know how His Story ends.

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