Normally, on a fast day, we say Vidui (confessions) and Tachanun (supplications). Yet on Tish'a B’Av (the 9th of the Jewish month of Av), one of the saddest days in the Jewish calendar, we do not say any supplications, as if putting Tisha B’Av on a par with the Holidays. Why is this?

...Tisha B’Av is, indeed, considered as a festival.

The answer is that Tisha B’Av is, indeed, considered as a festival. Even though the Holy Temple was destroyed on that day, nevertheless, the Jewish people were saved from extinction. G‑d, in His infinite mercy, poured his wrath on wood and stone instead. Thus we see the kindness of G‑d; even in a time of anger He remembers the Jewish people in Mercy.

Further, it is taught that the same day the Holy Temple was destroyed (Tisha B’Av) is the day when Mashiach is born. This proves that the punishment that came at this time was not because of hatred or cruelty, Heaven forbid, but is likened to a father who punishes a child out of love, in order to put him back on the right path. (See Nechamat Zion on Megilat Eicha, 2:7, 3:32)

Fast of Tisha B'Av
Saturday night August 15 - Sunday August 16, 2016 / 9 Av
The Fast of Tisha B'Av commemorates:

  1. The destruction of the First
  2. and Second Temples
  3. The decree that the generation of the wilderness who listened to the evil report of the spies would not enter the Land of Israel
  4. Capture of the city of Beitar after the failure of Bar Kochba's rebellion
  5. Plowing of Jerusalem by the Romans.

Additionally, the expulsions of the Jews from England (1290) and Spain in 1492 as well as many other tragedies also took place on Tisha B'Av.

Even the pleasure of Torah study is forbidden...

Besides abstaining from eating and drinking, full mourning is observed today, including sitting on low chairs or mats on the floor and abstaining from washing, anointing with oil, wearing leather shoes and marital relations. Even the pleasure of Torah study is forbidden, except the passages of reproof in Jeremiah, Job, etc. and works of Mussar and Chassidut that arouse us to repent.

After the evening service, Megillat Eichah (Lamentations) is read, followed by the recital of Kinot, mournful dirges about the destruction of the Temple and other tragedies in the history of the people of Israel. Following the morning Torah reading, lengthy Kinot are recited followed by the reading of Eichah. This takes up most of the morning until midday. Many visit Jewish cemeteries on Tisha B'Av to stir the souls of the dead to entreat for mercy for us.

The fast ends after nightfall (when 3 medium stars appear) on Thursday night. Many choose to recite Kiddush Levanah, "Sanctification of the Moon" after the evening service after the end of the fast.


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