“When the month of Av enters, we reduce our joy…” (Ta’anit 26b)
Tonight (Tuesday evening) begins the new Hebrew month of Av. The first nine days of the month are a sad time in the Jewish calendar as we mourn the destruction of both the First and Second Temples. The mourning culminates in the Ninth of Av (Tisha b’Av) which is a sad day of fasting and prayer.
During the nine days of mourning leading up to Tisha b’Av, there are certain things we don’t do, including:
– Listen to music (prohibited for the entire three weeks before Tisha b’Av)
– Eat meat or drink wine (except on Shabbat or certain celebratory meals)
– Wash clothing (except for a baby’s)
– Swim or bathe for pleasure
– Remodel a home
– Plant trees to be used for shade or fragrance (as opposed to fruit trees)
– Buy new clothing
May this be the last year we mourn our Temples’ destruction, and may the Messiah come soon so that next Tisha b’Av will be a time of feasting and joy!
Image: “Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem” by Francesco Hayez, 1867
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