July 21st, 2010
03:31 PM ET

Saddest day of the Jewish year

CNN photojournalist Avi Kanner and producer Izzy Lemberg filed this report from Jerusalem about a day of mourning on Monday:

It's called the saddest day of the Jewish calendar. On Tisha B’ Av - Hebrew for the 9th day of the month of Av on the Hebrew calendar - Jews mark the anniversary of the destruction of the first and second biblical Temples in Jerusalem.

According to Jewish tradition, both temples were destroyed on the 9th of Av - the first, King Solomon's temple, by the Babylonians in 586 BC; the second, rebuilt on the same spot, by the Romans in 70 AD.

Tradition also has it that a number of other calamities befell the Jewish people on this date - among them the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290 and from Spain in 1492.

Observant Jews mark the day by fasting and reciting from the Book of Lamentations written by the biblical prophet Jeremiah, in which he laments:

How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!  She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.

The destruction of the Second Temple effectively ended Jewish rule in ancient Judea, resulting in the mass migration of Jews to various parts of the world in a Diaspora that would last 2,000 years.

The Second Temple is also mentioned in the New Testament, describing how Jesus entered it to chase away money changers who he felt were corrupting the place of worship.

On Monday, people returned to the site of the destruction at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the only remaining structure left of the Temple. Many prayed, some wept, others came to observe.

On a breezy Jerusalem summer night, history is always close by.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Israel • Judaism

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Frank

    God is everywhere and He makes His home within the human heart. A building cannot contain Him.
    Were women not allowed at this event?

    October 19, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
    • Daniel B.

      Hey Frank, women are on the right side (for some reason not filmed, probably b/c men and women pray separately at the Western Wall). Also, you make a great point about God Being everywhere and in the human heart. But God Asked to have a special home for His Revealed Presence in the temple there in Jerusalem. See the Bible

      August 5, 2011 at 1:48 am |
  2. Benjamin

    It will not be long before the Third Temple will begin to be built. Mark my words.....

    October 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  3. Gary

    As a kid who grew up in Austin in a Jewish neiborhood I came to realize most jews are extremely hardworking,academic hungry,crafty folks who are NOT religious @ all. As an agnostic I know now why I am still friends with so many jews here in Houston and Austin.

    July 22, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  4. Daniel

    Also, it was not the Romans who built the Second Temple, but Herod the Great, a nobleman of Edom (or in Latin, Iudemaea, a province that was in legend said to have been descended from Abraham and Isaac through Esau). Now, Herod, being a Edomite, was Jewish, the Edomites having been forcibly converted to Jewish observance by John Hyrcanus, and absorbed into Judah around 128 BC.

    The Pharisees did not favor the conversion of the Edomites, but Herod seems to have wished to show some consideration to Jewish belief when he was appointed King of Judea by the Roman Senate, having previously served as Governor and later Tetrarch of Galilee.

    Herod was close to the leading families of Rome, and was able to use his influence to protect Jewish observance and customs. Though vilified after the fact, he was in fact a Jewish king in Judea, and sponsored the construction of the Second Temple to try to placate the Pharisees and other factions who disliked him for his Edomite ancestry.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:48 am |
  5. Reality

    Two of the few events in Jewish history that actually occurred.

    July 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  6. jonathan

    While to the Jews it may be a sad day it really is not...for the temple of God has never ceased to be..The temple now being the body of Christ...Everyone of us is a living stone...This is the only temple that can actually speak and prophesy..The foundation of this temple is all Jews, Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone..in whom the whole building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: to be an habitation of God through the spirit;....

    July 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
    • Reality

      johathan, Considering your commentary, you are suffering from the Three B Syndrome i.e. being Bred, Born and Brainwashed in the mumbo-jumbo of the Jesus cult. Jesus is/was no cornerstone of any structure other than may a few water molecules or phophate atoms from his decomposed body being part of some Palestine concrete.

      July 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
    • peace2all

      @jonathan..... Well put.... Wow..... The jews have it all wrong... please let them know. I am sure that they would appreciate your reframe on the subject, and that Geeeeesus has made it all better now...


      July 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • Daniel

      Newsflash! Jesus was Jewish. Just in case you missed that. Christianity only really began reaching out to non-Jews, and emerging as a distinct tradition, under Paul.

      July 22, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • Joseph MA

      Ironic that someone can say that Jesus't molecules ending up as part of some concrete without having to prove it. And others are supposed to believe it

      July 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
    • Reality

      Joseph MA,

      Hmmm, if we can find some old eucharist hosts/wafers, maybe we can track said molecules and atoms via said wafer's DNA? Actually, one assumes you can use some contemporary wafers for that.

      July 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.