[Image Source: Sodabottle]

In the Jewish calendar, today is the 10th day of the month of Av (the 5th month of the Jewish calendar year). On this day in Jewish history, the fires that consumed the Holy Temples began on the night of the ninth of Av, and continued to burn until middle of the following day. The Talmudic sage Rabbi Yohanan stated, “Had I been alive in that generation, I would have fixed [the day of mourning and fasting] for the tenth [of Av], because the greater part of the Temple was burnt on that day.” As a result of the calamity of the day, there are some forms of mourning which extend from the 9th of Av to midday on the 10th. The forms of mourning during the first part of the tenth of Av (up until midday) include refraining from:

  • Eating meat
  • Cutting ones hair or beard
  • Listening to music
  • Bathing for pleasure
  • Drinking wine
  • Marital relations

As Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) has been a day of misfortune throughout Jewish history, so too has been the Tenth of Av. In addition to the burning of the first Holy Temple, the following Jewish tragedies also occurred on the 10th day of Av.

  1. On July 22, 1306, (10th of Av) the Jews of France were arrested and ordered to leave the country. Approximately 100,000 were forced to wander in search of new homes, and many perished along the way.
  2. On August 11,1905, (10th of Av) the Aliens Act was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.. This entitled an immigration officer to deny entry to an ‘undesirable immigrant,’ defined as one who had no means of earning a living, one who is judged to be a lunatic, or one who was convicted of a nonpolitical crime. The bill also allowed for the expulsion of those who had already immigrated and were deemed undesirable. One of its main objectives was to control Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe.
  3. On August 16, 1929, (10th of Av) as a newly constructed door near the Western Wall was opened, Jewish worshipers were attacked by local Arabs (who were encouraged to attack Jews by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who claimed that the Jews were attacking the Muslim holy places).
  4. On August 15, 2005, (10th of Av) the government of Israel began the Gaza Disengagement, by which Israeli Defense Forces unilaterally pulled out of Gaza. The disengagement saw approximately 9,000 Jewish residents (many from the village of Gush Katif) evicted from their homes. Despite mass rallies against the disengagement by Israeli’s and pro-Israel advocates around the world, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon implemented the plan with the hope of reducing security concerns and diffusing the demographic problem of Gaza’s 1.5 million Arabs. As we see time and time again, capitulating to terror and to Israel’s enemy only invites more terror and emboldens our enemies.

The Jewish sages have taught us that the reason why the Roman’s were granted the power of the Jewish people and the power to destroy the second Temple was due to a lack of sensitivity, unity and camaraderie among the Jewish people of that time.

In rectifying these tragic periods of Jewish history and in doing what we can to prepare for the Third Holy Temple, it is imperative for all of us to once again share a sense of unity and shared purpose; a sense of unity to prevail once more in the hearts of the Jewish people and those who support us. We mustn’t just rally together only after a tragedy has struck, but we must rally together today, tomorrow and forever to secure and ensure a peaceful and prosperous Israel for us and for our children.