Tisha B’Av, an annual fast day in Judaism, is named for the ninth day (Tisha) of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar.
The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date.
The First Temple was built by King Solomon and was the most important place in ancient Judaism. It was destroyed when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was built on the site of the First Temple and was completed in 516 B.C. Sadly, the Second Temple was also destroyed, this time during the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
The destruction of the two Temples took place on the same day – the ninth of Av – about 656 years apart. These two events were so tragic that the ancient rabbis declared the anniversary of the Temples’ destruction a day of mourning. This is the origin of Tisha B’Av.
The ninth of Av also happens to be the day that Jews were expelled from England in 1290, as well as the day that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492.
The day, which is marked by a traditional fast, will see dozens of prayer services, each conducted according to the observers’ various Jewish traditions.
Five calamities of Tisha B’Av:
1. 586 BC, the first temple, Solomon’s Temple, is destroyed beginning the Babylonian Captivity
2. 70 AD, the second temple, Herod’s Temple, is destroyed scattering the Jews to the four corners of the earth
4. 1290 AD, the Jews were expelled from England