Tisha B’Av: A Time to Weep

Side profile of Yael Eckstein praying at the Western Wall.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens … a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. — Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

For 364 days out of the year, Jews are meant to turn to God with gratitude, praise, and the attitude that everything is for the best. We don’t ask questions, and we don’t wallow in depression even if we have plenty to be upset about. However, one day a year is different from all other days. Tisha B’Av, literally, the ninth day of the Hebrew month ofAv, is the darkest day on the Jewish calendar.

For over 2,500 years, Jews have marked this day by mourning for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and for every other tragedy that has befallen the Jewish people since. It is the one day a year that we ask the question, “Why?” We pour out our hearts like water before God with tears.

In this month’s Limmud, we will explore the origins of this fateful day and discover its palpable effect on human history through this very day. We will learn about the customs and rituals observed by the Jewish people on Tisha B’Av and how this day may be meaningful to us all. We will uncover a ray of hope in the deep darkness that envelopes this day, and we will emerge with an understanding of what we all can do to transform darkness into light.

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