Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tisha B'Av Calamities Through History

This morning, 9 Av 5771, I took part in the most fascinating, moving, thought-provoking Tisha B'Av program I have attended in many years. I'm sure everyone who attended will agree. The program was led by Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein in the Zayit Raanan Synagogue in Efrat. Rabbi Grunstein’s spellbinding lecture itself will be dealt with in another blog.

Right now, I would like to discuss something that Rabbi Grunstein mentioned, “The rabbis state clearly that Tisha B’Av is a day of calamity for all generations.”
I already knew several catastrophic occurrences on Tisha B’Av, but Rabbi Grunstein's presentation pushed me to research more (well, you are supposed to think of the sorrows of the Jewish people today).
After doing quite a bit of research, I came up with these. (If they’re off by a year or so, please forgive me. Math is not my strong point.) If you have any more incidents to add, please send them to me in this blog’s comments.


• 1312 (2448 BCE) - After the Exodus from Egypt, when the Jews were in the desert, those sent to spy out the land (except for Joshua and Calev) told the Jewish people that they would be defeated if they tried to enter Eretz Yisrael. The nation wept, believing their false report. Tisha B’Av 1312 became a day of weeping for all generations.
• 3338 (587 BCE) – The Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the First Temple. One hundred thousand Jews were killed and millions were sent into (Babylonian) Exile.
• 3830 (70 CE) - The Romans under Titus destroyed the Second Temple. A million Jews were killed, and the rest enslaved.
• 3895 (135) - The Romans defeated Bar Kochba's last fortress, Betar, and destroy his army. Six hundred thousand Jews were killed, including Bar Kochba. The Romans renamed Eretz Yisrael, Syria Palestina. Jews were forbidden entry into Jerusalem, which was transformed into a pagan city, now renamed Aeolia Capitolina.
• 3896 (136) – Roman Commander Turnus Rufus plowed the site of the Temple and Jerusalem.
• 4855 (1095) - Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade. Sixty-thousand bloodthirsty knights marched to Jerusalem, killing 25,000 Jews along the way, forcibly converting thousands of others, and plundering the great Jewish communities of Speyers, Worms and Mainz.

• 4950 (1190) – Five hundred Jews in York, England, committed mass suicide during the anti-Jewish riots in the year 1190, when mobs of Christians surrounded the Jewish community, locked in a local castle. Richard the Lionheart had just become king and departed for the Third Crusade. Any of the Jews who did were
willing to convert and therefore did not commit suicide, were killed by the mob.
• 5050 (1290) - King Edward I expelled Jews from England on July 25,1290.
• 5252 (1492) – Spanish rulers Ferdinand and Isabella didn't only send Christopher Columbus to America. They expelled 300,000 Jews from Spain, beginning August 2, 1492. The Alhambra Decree expelled Jews from Spain and Spanish territories on August 11, 1492.
• 5315 (1555) - Pope Paul IV decreed that the Jews of Rome be forced into a ghetto on this date in July 14, 1555 near the Tiber River (the Jews were forced to pay for the construction of the ghetto walls themselves), and were prohibited from owning property, practicing medicine on Christians and were forced to hear Christian sermons every Shabbat.
• 5408 (1647) - Bogdan Chmielnicki and his cossacks massacred 3,000 Jews in Konstantynow, Poland.

• 5579 (1819) : At a time of bad harvests and social unrest, German mobs, crying “Hep, hep!”, rioted against the Jews of Frankfort. The pogroms were “against the emancipation of the Jews and the Jewish bank system”. Even money could not save the Rothschilds whose home was attacked. The riots spread to several neighboring countries. Hep hep: “Some believe that it was the crusaders' rallying cry, derived from the initials of Hierosolyma est perdita (‘Jerusalem is lost’).” [More on that in a future blog.]
• 5674 (1914) - World War I began with Germany’s declaration of war on Russia, August 1, 1914. This set the stage for World War II and the Holocaust.
• 5798 (1938) – Jihad was called against Eretz Yisrael. “The situation in Palestine threatened to grow worse when Moslem ecclesiastical authorities issued a fatwa calling for Iraqi participation in the fighting in Palestine which was labeled a Jihad. Thousands of young Iraqis responded by rushing to sign up at recruiting stations set up in Baghdad.”
• 5700 (1940) - Heinrich Luitpold Himmler presents the plan for the "Final Solution" for the destruction of Europe’s Jewish population and oversaw the entire concentration camp system.
• 5701 (1941) - Reinhard Tristan Heydrich, “the Hangman, was ordered to carry out the “Final Solution” for elimination of European Jewry.
There’s a youtube showing these fine looking gentlemen, yemach shemam, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbKBgOZz_pA.
• 5701 (1941) - The SS began their new mission by murdering 600 Jews in Targivica, Ukraine on August 2, 1941.
• 5702 (1942) - Nazis begin deporting Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka on the eve of Tisha B'Av 5702, July 23, 1942.
• 5702 (1942) - In the first mass deportation to the gas chambers 10,000 Jews were sent from the Borislave Ghetto to the Belsen death camp.
• 5733 (1973) – Israel’s Defense Minister errs in believing only in the might of the IDF – “At a lecture to the Staff College, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan told the officer ‘the overall balance of forces is in our favor and this is what decides the question and rules out the immediate renewal of the war.’ These reassuring words would come back to haunt the Israelis when Egypt and Syria would attack two months later in the Yom Kippur War, which almost had disastrous consequences for the survival of the Jewish state. “
• 5754 (1994) Terrorists bombed the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 86 and wounding 300 others, Monday July 18, 1994.
5765 (2005) – The original date that former PM Arik Sharon decreed to destroy the Gush Katif/Northern Shomron communities, but it was carried out a few days later. Ten thousand people became homeless and still suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, unemployment and underemployment.
• 5767 (2007) – Unfortunately, anti-Semitism is alive and well, and living in Paris and all over the world. A 23-year-old Jewish woman was attacked in Noisy-le-Grand, near Paris, by two youths who beat her and shouted "You dirty Jew".

Thanks to the following websites for their info:
1. http://www.torah.org
2. http://www.aish.com
3. http://www.answers.com
4. http://thisdayinjewishhistory.blogspot.com
5. http://www.geschichteinchronologie.ch/eu/D-bis-1933/judentum-EncJud-hep-hep-pogroms-1819-ENGL.html
6. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=395&letter=M
7. http://www.torahtots.com/timecapsule/thismonth/av.htm#9
8. http://www.ou.org/torah/tt/5758/dvarim58/bhyom.htm
9. http://www.templeinstitute.org

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