It so happened that both the First and
Second Jewish Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed in the
month of Av.The FirstTemple, which was built by
King Solomon, was destroyed "in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the
month" (Jeremiah 52:12) in the year 3175 (586 BCE) by the
Babylonians under their king Nebuchadrezzar.The SecondTemple was destroyed on the
ninth day of the month in the year 3830 (70 CE) by the Romans, commanded by
Titus, the son of the emperor Vespasian.Both events were followed by exile and devastating loss of lives.The fast of Tish'aB'Av (simply, 'Ninth of Av')
commemorates those terrible Jewish catastrophes.
According to the Bible (Jeremiah -15, -23;Chronicles II 36:11-19) the FirstTemple was destroyed because
of idol worship.The Talmud sages explain that the SecondTemple, however, was destroyed
because of causeless hatred ('SinatHinam' in Hebrew) and internal fighting among Jews.It is intriguing that the punishment for sins
against G-d was not as lasting as the punishment for sins against fellow
humans; only seventy years after the destruction of the FirstTemple the SecondTemple was re-built by Jews
who had already returned from exile.
fast of Tish'aB'Av is an
opportunity for reflection and self-examination of the divisions among
Jews.Let us build on our common
heritage, highlight all that we share and thrive to bring our hearts
together.Let us embrace what unites us,
appreciate the various rituals of Jewish life and develop a dialogue of
understanding with our brothers and sisters, based on our shared faith.