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Tisha B'av

Tishav B’Av & Anti-Semitism

Tishav B’Av & anti-semitism,INQUISTION AND HOLOCAUST. What was the jewish peoples perspective on Hitler becoming leader in 1934?Why Didn’t The Jews Leave?  

We just past the festival of Tishav B’Av, when we remember the tragedy of the destruction of our homeland and the Temple of Jerusalem.   It’s strange to think that there were Rabbis in 1930s Germany calling to abolish the festival because Jews had found a permanent home in the German fatherland and Jews would be safe there for ever.  

Mein Kampf was published in 1926.

There were more than 500,000 Jews in Germany in 1933, with 30% of them living in the city of Berlin, 40% living in other large German cities, and the rest scattered in small towns throughout the country. More than half of them owned or operated businesses.   When you look back at Jewish history, there had been long cycles of Anti-Semitism and recovery. They were sure that Hitler was a passing phase and things would eventually get better. Most German Jews thought of themselves as Germans who happened to be Jewish and saw no reason to have fear. In the previous two hundred years, they had made tremendous progress and some had fully assimilated and a few even converted. They saw themselves as patriotic citizens of Germany and even in the face of Nazism, thought the world was still logical and they were safe.

German Jews were the most assimilated that Jews have been, ever. They married non Jews. They worked with non Jews. They were very happy and contented as ‘German” citizens, and viewed themselves AS ‘German’. They just happened to be of the Jewish or hebraic religion.   Germany was thought of as the most ‘civilized’ country on Earth. It had a “wonderful” culture; it produced great thinkers, composers, writers. NOSTALGIA OF THE GREEK TIMES?? ….Nobody could possibly predict that such an intellectual and seemingly refined country could EVER be part of an attempted, and almost successful genocide.   So even though many ews would have been worried by ‘mein kampf’ and would have been nervous, they never would have thought that Hitler would find support in his anti semitism from the rest of Germany.   Tragically, those jews were very wrong.  

Whenever it is the 6th of Av , I always think especially of a prayer that we recite every day (in the weekdays in the morning, and in the afternoon of Shabbat) which begins the words U’va L’Tzion Goel  – “A redeemer will arrive in Zion…” (Isaiah 59:20) which refers to the coming of Moshiach which will take place in Israel.  Along with the next verse that begins V’Ani Zot Briti – “As for me, this is My Covenant…” which are the beginning verses of this prayer, they immediately precede the text for the Haftara of Parshat Ki Tavo (Isaiah 60), the sixth of the seventh Haftarot that are called the Shivata D’Nechemata “Seven Haftarot of Comfort” following the date of Tisha B’Av when some of the worse tragedies occurred on this ill fated date.

But in case you were wondering why July 24, 2012, though it is close to Tisha B’Av, of which the rabbis declare that Moshiach was born on, should remind me of the above prayer, taking a look at the very first word U’va,  which consists of the letters Vav, Veit/Beit, Aleph – these very letters make up the lettering of the date Vav Av.  And since this date is three days before Tisha B’Av which is most associated with Moshiach, I should mention that in the Midrash called Yalkut Shimoni on Isaiah 52:7, it states that three days before Moshiach comes, Elijah the Prophet will announce his arrival.   TISHA B’AV – RELATIONSHIP TO THE REDEMPTION AND THE SEPHIRA PERIOD.

If you have noticed lately, there has been more talk than ever about this coming Tisha B’Av, or at least this month of Av, being the time for Moshiach’s coming.  Now, while I am not here to make predictions, there is something striking about the letters of the words used for this date that cannot be denied.  You see, if you rearrange the letters of the words “Tisha B’Av”, it reads Av (Aleph, Beit/Veit) 5772 (Hei, Tav, Shin, Ayin, Beit)!  No other year will come out to this type of combination (except going back in history reversing the letters Hei and Beit of the year to read 2775).  And as our rabbinic literature tells us, Moshiach was born on Tisha B’Av; meaning, that the potential of Moshiach coming began on this date when the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) was destroyed, had the Jews only done Teshuva (repentance).  And it is true that it has been reported that Rabbi Yitzchak Kadury, ZT”L, the elder of the Kabbalists until his passing in 5766 (2006) over a 100 years old, that he told his Chavruta (learning partner) that Moshiach will be arriving in Av 5772.   One year ago, I wrote on this blog about the relationship of the Bein HaMetzarim “Three Weeks” that id from the date of the fast of 17 Tammuz until Tisha B’Av of the 70 years of the Babylonian exile following the destruction of the first Temple, and from the destruction of the second Temple until today, coming out to very close to 116 years, corresponding to the 116 years that the Jews were slaves in Mitzrayim (Egypt),  Now, note that I wrote “until Tisha B’Av”, which if it were to enter the equation, it would come out to more than a total of 116 years.  But the reason why ironically, Tisha B’Av is not entered into this equation, even though this was the date that the worst tragedies happened to the Jewish people, is because this date because the very first date of hope, but the rest is dependent on us to change our fate for the good.  

Just as the first day of Passover was the date of our first Redemption, so it can be said at least as a possibility that Tisha B’Av will be the date of our final Redemption, which can very well take place on this Shabbat which is the actual date of 9 Av (Tisha B’Av), which then means that we will not even need to fast the following day as we normally do when the actual date of Tisha B’Av falls out on Shabbat, since once the Redemption happens, we will not have any more need to fast and mourn on Tisha B’Av.

Some argue that Tisha B’av should be abolished since they are not interested in the rebuilding of the Temple or in the renewal of the sacrificial system. But this is only one aspect of Tisha B’av. We mourn on Tisha B’av for the Destruction, but we also pray for redemption, as we learn in a midrash: the Messiah was born on the day the Temple was destroyed.


We fasted on Tisha B’av, The Fast of Gedalia, the Tenth of Tevet and the Seventeenth of Tammuz in order to commemorate specific events related to the Destruction. We remembered Jerusalem at weddings by placing ashes on the groom’s head, by reciting the verse “If I forget thee Jerusalem” (Psalms 137:5-6), and by breaking a glass.

We remembered Jerusalem at funerals by burying Jews with their feet facing Jerusalem so that when resurrection comes they might be ready to stand up and walk towards the Holy City. So too, since the thirteenth Century, Diaspora Jews were buried with a small sack of dirt from Jerusalem. And for hundreds of years, Jews have comforted mourners by saying: “May God comfort you among the other mourners for Zion and Jerusalem”.

We were fortunate to witness the beginning of our redemption as a nation in 1948 and therefore it’s  celebrates Israel’s Independence Day. But the redemption is not yet complete and therefore we must fast on Tisha B’av. As the Ba’al Shem Tov said: “Forgetfulness prolongs the exile; remembrance is the secret of redemption.


About Orekh Schriftsteller

Orekh Schriftsteller. It is the online pen-name of author and Managing Director of DM Enterprises.


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