Tish’a beAb is the day of National mourning for the Jewish people. Our rabbis mentioned five tragedies which happened on the 9th of Ab
1. HET HAMERAGELIM (ca. 1300 BCE): The Jews in the desert accepted the slanderous report of the ten explorers. They cried and complained to God for taking them out of Egypt. They also hinted that the Almighty won’t be able to help them in conquering the Land of Israel and defeat so many enemies. HaShem decreed that all those who were 20 years or older would not enter the Promised Land. Rather, they will wander for forty years until that generation disappears. The night on which they cried and were condemned to die in the dessert was Tish’a be-Ab.
2. HURBAN HABAYIT HARISHON (586 BCE): In the times of King Hizqiahu, on the 10th of Tebet the Babylonian seized the city of Jerusalem. The siege persisted for two years and a half. People had no provisions, food or wood. Thousands died from starvation or epidemic outbreaks. On the 9th of Tamuz the Babylonians destroyed the wall and entered the city, pillaging, killing and destroying. Still, the Bet haMiqdash kept functioning, and sacrifices were offered. On the 17th of Tamuz, for the first time since the days of the Exodus, the daily sacrifice (qorban haTamid) was discontinued. On the 7th of Ab, the Babylonians entered the Bet haMiqdash and profaned it. On the 9th of Ab, close to sunset, the Babylonians ignited the fire which burned our Bet haMiaqdash during that night and the whole following day. Thousands of Jews were slaughtered, enslaved or exiled to the Babylonian empire. The story of the destruction of Jerusalem and its desolation is narrated in Megilat Ekha.
3. HURBAN HABAYIT HASHENI (68 CE): On the year 68 of the common era, on the 17th of Tamuz the Romans broke the walls which protected Jerusalem. During the following three weeks they pillaged the city, destroyed everything they saw and kill tens of thousands of Jews. On the ninth of ab, after desecrating the Sanctuary, Titus HaRasha destroyed our Second bet HaMiqdash. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed, sold into slavery or exiled. The rabbis explained that the Jews were divided and fighting among themselves (sinat hinam). They explained that the Romans destroyed a Bet haMiqdash that “was already destroyed”, because when the Jews are not united HaShem’s presence does not rest within them.
4. NILKEDA BETAR (135 CE): In the year 135 of the common era, the jews revolted again against the Roman empire. This time with the approval of great Rabbis and jewish leaders, among them, rabbi Akiba. Bar Kokhba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The city of Betar (Sephardim call it “Bee-ter”), which was the Jews’ last stand against the Romans, was captured by the enemy on Tish’a be-Ab. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and their bodies left unburied (the Gemara in Guitin 57b mentions that Hadrian killed in Beetter 4 miliion Jews, ארבע מאות ריבוא ).
5. NEHERASH HAHEKHAL: Around the same period, also on a ninth of Ab, the Temple’s holiest area and its surroundings was plowed by the Roman general Turnus Rufus. Jerusalem was turned into a pagan city, and renamed Aelia Capitolina. Access to Jerusalem was forbidden for Jews.
OTHER TRAGIC EVENTS WHICH HAPPENED
ON THE 9th of AB
The First Crusade started on the 9th of Ab of 1096, killing 10,000 Jews in its first month and destroying Jewish communities in France and the Rhineland. 1.2 million Jews were killed by this crusade.
The Jews were expelled from England on July 18, 1290 .
In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain, after living there for more than 6 centuries. The edict of Expulsion forced the Jews to leave the country by the end of July. Tish’a beAb was august 1st. There are different versions regarding the number of jews who lived in Spain in the golden era, before the expulsion. There are those who mention that at least there were 250 thousand Jews in Spain. While the historian Juan de Mariana mentioned that there were 800 thousand Jews in Spain. Other sources stated that there were approximately 600,000 Jews in Spain. 200,000 remained there as “conversos”. 200,000 were killed or died while fleeing from Spain and Portugal (they were expelled from Portugal in 1497) and 200,000 managed to escape and establish themselves in Morocco, Alger, Tunis, Turkey (Turkey was the biggest colony of Spanish refugees), Greece, Egypt, Syria, Erets Israel (Safed and Jerusalem), etc.
IN MODERN DAYS
Germany entered World War I on August 1-2, 1914 , 9 of Ab, which caused massive upheaval in European Jewry and whose aftermath led to the Holocaust.
On August 2, 1941, 9 of Ab, SS commander Heinrich Himmler formally received approval from the Nazi Party for “The Final Solution.” As a result, the Holocaust began during which almost one third of the world’s Jewish population perished.
On July 23, 1942, 9 of Ab, began the mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.
On the 10th of Ab the following events took place:
AMIA bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 and injuring 300 on 18 July 1994.
Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan, also known as the “Disengagement plan from Gush Qatif”, the “Gaza expulsion plan”, or haHitnatkut, began 10 Ab, 15 August 2005.