The 9th of AV. Day of Darkness Part II
In the entire history of the Jewish people, there is not a darker day than Tisha b'Av. It is a historical day of mourning. Fasting from food and drink is mandatory. One cannot engage in sexual relations or even wash oneself. One cannot wear leather shoes and one cannot read from the Torah, lest it bring one joy.
No, Tisha b'Av- literally, the 9th of AV- is a day of sorrow, a day cursed by God. It is the end and culmination of 3 weeks of mourning every year. It is this mourning that is specifically mentioned in Zechariah chapter 7.
3 To speak to the priests of the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets, saying: Must I weep in the fifth month, or must I sanctify myself as I have now done for many years?
In the history of Judaism, there is no darker day than the 9th of AV
1312 BC. After the exodus from Egypt, while the Jews were wandering in the desert, 12 spies were sent to report on the ‘promised’ land ahead, the land of Israel (Canaan). 10 of them returned on the 9th Av with negative reports. Their lack of faith caused God to condemn all of their generation (except for the two spies who brought back favorable reports of the land) to die out in the desert rather than live to enter Israel.
586 BC The First Temple was destroyed on the 9th Av by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar. (Many Jews were subsequently forcibly exiled to Babylon).
A model of the 2nd Temple in ancient Jerusalem
70 AD Five hundred years later, the Second Temple was destroyed on the same date by the Romans.
On the 9th Av in 135 AD during the time of the Jewish revolt against Roman rule, soldiers led by Rabbi Simon bar Kochba were massacred in their final battle at Betar.
1290 The Jews were expelled from England in on the 9th Av.
1492 The Golden Age of Spain came to a close when Queen Isabella and her husband Ferdinand ordered that the Jews be banished from Spain. The edict of expulsion was signed on the 31st March and the Jews were given exactly four months to put their affairs in order and leave. The Hebrew date of their leaving was to be the 9th of Av.