The True Tragedy of Tisha Be’av

Tisha Be’av, which we will commemorate tomorrow night and Sunday, is a time of mourning and lamentation for the two great calamities resulting in the destruction of the Temple, the desolation of Jerusalem and the exile of our people, the first in 586 BCE by the Babylonians and the second in 70 CE by the Romans.

Although the book that gives the tone to the day is Lamentations, which was written in response to the Babylonian destruction, these days our minds are more likely to be focused on the war against the Romans, since the ruins of that destruction are still visible to this day. The Western Wall, which was part of the retaining wall of Herod’s reconstruction of the Second Temple, remains a place of prayer and pilgrimage. Indeed, the period of exile and loss of Jewish independence that began then was only brought to a close in the founding of the State of Israel, 64 years ago.


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