Chazal note that the first day of Pesach and Tisha B’Av always fall on the same day of the week in any given year. The Jewish calendar is teaching us that redemption (Pesach) and tragedy (Tisha B’Av) are interlinked - HaShem does not make us suffer for no reason. Tragedy, suffering, and galus, are means of purifying us and pushing us to seek HaShem in a world which looks like it is devoid of His Presence. Thus, galus and tragedy are ultimately steps in bringing about our redemption. Indeed, this explains the fact that the Beis Hamikdash burnt in the afternoon of Tisha B’Av, yet that is the time when we lighten our mourning - we move to sit on normal chairs and put on Tallis and Tefillin. Surely the mourning should be increased in the afternoon if that’s when the Temple burnt? The answer is that because the destruction of the Temple was necessary to ultimately cleanse us, ensure our survival, and pave the way for a lasting redemption, at the time when the Mikdash was burning we lighten the mourning - thus recognising the ultimate good behind even the greatest tragedy. This is the real nechama that exists on Tisha B’Av.
In the Eye of the Beholder In the Megillah of Eichah (1:12), read on Tisha B'Av, we find the following statement: "Is it nothing to you, all you that pass by? Behold, and see if there is any pain like my pain, which was brought upon me, with which Hashem has afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger." On first blush, the statement seems difficult to comprehend.
The prophet Yirmiya is discussing the destruction of the Bais HaMikdosh, the Holy Temple. Clearly, this loss was one felt by the entire nation of Israel. How then could Yirmiya say that, in essence to "those that pass by, it is nothing..?" Why was the destruction of the Bais HaMikdosh personalized in this passage, to the extent that Yirmiya writes "see if there is pain like my pain, which was brought upon me." Wasn't this an affliction that affected every member of the nation of Israel? The poor man and his wife were counting down the days. His wealthy cousin was marrying off his child this week, and the wedding was to be an occasion not to be missed. The celebratory meal, sure to be composed of the finest delicacies in bountiful supply, would be a welcome change from the meager rations to which he was accustomed. In order to ensure that he would be able to appreciate the vast repast at the wedding, the poor man decided that he would not eat for two days prior to the wedding. In this way, he would be able to savor every morsel and appreciate the unique assortment of sumptuous cuisine he was sure awaited him.
In considering the possibility of those who wish to build a Third Temple on har haBayis today, Rav Berkowitz shlit"a poses a powerful question:
Are we ready to eat from the korban Pesach?
He explains that in the time when the Beis Hamikdosh stood everyone would keep hilchos taharos even on chullin (an exceptionally high level of purity "even when eating their breakfast").
This is just an example that people who merited the Beis Hamikdosh considered everything to its particular details and were stringent on themselves in every area that they could be.
Today, how many of us could eat the Korban Pesach?
How many of us consider every mouthful of food as a miraculous gift of sustainance? And everytime we are about to speak to someone, do we seriously consider the consequences of what we are about to say?
Yom Kippur & Tisha B'Av may share the distinction of being the only night-and-day fasts of the year, but they are as different as.. well, Day & Night.
In fact, Yom Kippur is known as the White Fast, while Tisha B'Av is called the Black Fast. Though we refrain from food, drink, bathing, marital relations, etc. on both days, there is a distinct difference in the atmosphere & mood of the 2 events. On Yom Kippur, we're exhilarated by our surge of spirituality, as we lunge excitedly for the heights of Teshuva. After eating a festive meal before the fast, we spurn material needs & desires for 25 hours, looking angelic in our white Kittels, davening until the stars finally appear. We greet our fellow Jews exuberantly, with confident wishes of good tidings, signed and sealed.
But Tisha B'Av is as decidedly DOWNbeat as Yom Kippur is UPbeat. The Seuda HaMafseket (meal before the Fast) is meager & subdued. We chant dirges in the gloom, sitting low or on the floor, avoiding greetings or social nicities. The Parochet is off the Ark; the Tefilin is off our arm. If Yom Kippur excites
"A nation that mourns for its temple for more than 1700 years deserves to see it rebuilt." (Napoleon to the Jews of France after inquiring about their practice of mourning on the 9th of Av)
The 9th of the Hebrew month Av will soon observed. It is a fast day and a day of mourning for the 1st and 2nd Temples, 2,500 and 2000 years ago respectively, as well as other Jewish tragedies which are connected to this day
The following story is told by a man in new york.. A close acquaintance of his who neither knows nor cares much about Jewish history or custom called him a few days after the 9th of Av. The friend was distraught about a few things and so he offered to listen.
His friend was in the middle of planning a move to the western U.S. for business reasons. He needed to sell his house in the New York area and buy a house "out west". He had already gone to contract on his new home