The period of the ‘Three Weeks’ in which we find ourselves . . . and it is often associated with blame and even messianism . . .
There are serious issues associated with these ‘three weeks’ — and they become even more serious from the beginning of the month of Av (this Thursday evening) for the following 9 days, reaching all the way to the ninth day: Tisha b’Av . . . .
This list is not the entire truth . . . and subsequently, neither truthful nor helpful
Five specific events occurred on the ninth of Av . . .
- The Twelve Spies (or scouts) sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan returned from their mission. Only two of the spies Joshua and Caleb brought a positive report, while the others spoke disparagingly about the land. The majority report caused the Children of Israel to cry, panic and despair of ever entering the Promised Land. For this, they were punished by Gd that their generation would not enter the land, or so the story goes.
- The First Temple built by Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE, and the population of Judah was sent into exile. According to the Tanakh, the First Temple’s destruction began on the 7th of Av (2 Kings 25:8) and continued until the 10th (Jeremiah 52:12).
- The Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE . . .
- The Romans subsequently crushed Bar Kochba Revolt and destroyed the city of Betar, killing over 500,000 Jewish civilians in the revolt as a whole.
- Following the Bar Kokhba revolt, Roman commander Quintas Tineius Rufus plowed the site of the Temple in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, in 135 CE
מָשִׁיחַ, or the ‘the anointed one’ is considered to b a savior or liberator of the Jewish people, not a god. The concept of Mashiach did originate in Judaism and in the Tanakh — a Mashiach as a king or High Priest and importantly as a human being, is one who is anointed with oil by the religious leadership of a generation — note: the Hebrew Messiah occurs 41 times in the Tanakh (i.e. the Hebrew Bible).
There are classical Jewish sources that claim the Messiah will be born on Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the month of Av).
The hope for the Messiah’s birth on Tisha B’Av was early on linked in the Jerusalem Talmud to the destruction of the 2nd Temple. (See the Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot Chapter 2 Siman 4). While I am always interested in the Jerusalem Talmud — however, I would like to be clear that it is both traditionally and historically held to be a lesser source than the Babylonian Talmud.
To be more clear: Maimonides describes the identity of the Messiah in the following terms:
And if a king shall arise from among the House of David, studying Torah and occupied with commandments like his father David, according to the written and oral Torah, and he will impel all of Israel to follow it and to strengthen breaches in its observance, and will fight God’s wars, this one is to be treated as if he were the anointed one. If he succeeded and built the Holy Temple in its proper place and gathered the dispersed ones of Israel together, this is indeed the anointed one for certain, and he will mend the entire world to worship the Lord together, as it is stated: “For then I shall turn for the nations a clear tongue so that they will all proclaim the Name of the Lord, and to worship Him with a united resolve (Zephaniah 3:9).
High Holidays — Note:
Because Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are really just around the corner, and people are beginning to make plans for where they might want to spend the High Holidays this year, I would like to invite anyone who would like to come as my guest to our TBI services, (also known as The Jewish Center of Bucks County in Warrington) to let me know if you would like to join us for those days. The services are great, and personal and meaningful and even if you have another shul or synagogue, I would love to have you come to be with us for any part of those days. Just let me know . . . also: if you have friends or family members who usually come with you, then they are invited to be with us as well. It would be great for all of us to be together for the Holidays . . .