From Darkness to Light

Ever have one of those days—you know, the type of day in which nothing seems to go right? A day which Murphy as in Murphy’s Law is going wild? The day you wished never happened? In Jewish life, this day is Tisha B’av (the

9th of the month of Av). While this may not have much mention in the Scriptures themselves, our tradition is replete with awful things that happened on this day. It is a dark day, a day on which we mourn, a day which we look forward to redemption. It is a day which we know G-d will turn from darkness into light.

The greatest of the tragedies—and there are many—is the destruction of not just one but both of the Temples in Jerusalem. The first was destroyed because of idolatry and the second because of “baseless hatred.” What greater baseless hatred could there have been than killing the innocent, sinless Messiah? But that is not all! It was on this day that the 10 spies came back, with their evil report, and crippled the children of Israel’s faith, condemning that generation to die in the wilderness. It was on this day that the second revolt against Rome was crushed, in 135 CE, thus effectively banishing any thriving Jewish presence from the land of Israel. Subsequently, the Temple Mount was plowed over and turned into a pagan city. Further into Jewish history, this day marked the Jewish community being expelled from England in 1290. Most notably, this day signaled the Jewish community in Spain, the great and prosperous center of Jewish life and learning in the Middle Ages, being expelled. World War I began this day as well as the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. Needless to say, it remains a dark day within Jewish life.

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