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Why We Mourn on Tisha B’Av

Naftali Silberberg –

The fast of Tisha b’Av, the saddest date on the Jewish calendar, is the day which saw the destruction of both Holy Temples, as well as many other tragic events throughout our nation’s tear-soaked galut (exile). A mournful mood is carefully created. We read Jeremiah’s Book of Lamentations and a lengthy collection of elegies which vividly describe all these tragedies, and throughout the day we follow many mourning practices.

Live feed from the Kotel in the Extended Article!

Tisha b’Av is our national day of mourning when we pause to reflect on all the pogroms, crusades, inquisitions and holocausts which have dogged our nation for the past 2,000 years. Nonetheless it is specifically observed on the date when the Holy Temples were destroyed, and the Temples are the principal focus of this day’s mourning. It is clear that our suffering is intimately associated with the absence of the Temple.

What is the connection? And why the obsession over an ancient Jerusalemite structure? Does the lack of a Holy Temple leave any of us feeling a gaping hole in our lives?

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