Tisha B’Av 2021: Meaning, date, and poem and quotes to share

Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning for the Jewish people, and it falls on the 9th of Av. It commemorates the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem.

Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning in Judaism. It is the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av, and marks the beginning of the fast of the ninth month.


Tisha B’av remembers Jewish tragedies throughout history. (Photo courtesy of Getty)

Today, millions of Jews across the globe will commemorate Tisha B’Av, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar.

The ninth day of the month of Av is a commemoration of Jewish disasters throughout history, beginning with the destruction of the first temple in Jerusalem by Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE and continuing through more recent historical crimes such as the Holocaust.

We’ve compiled a list of poetry and readings to help you think on the significance of Tisha B’Av.

Poems in memory of people who have passed away

Papyrus sways tuft-like in the soft breeze, water tinkles and trickles in auditory sensations, blue sky spreads to eternity behind and beyond, and the sun burns away the loneliness’s cold.

Because I’m alone and far away from you. I am not with you, Zion’s daughter. I am not seated inside your fortifications, Jerusalem of Gold. I am distant from you, ancient city of grace and hope.

The tears of our forefathers reverberate through the twisting alleys of the ancient city. Then come in and mix with my contemporary ears. Thousands of years have passed, and thousands of miles have been traveled. Cracks in my heart mirror the shattering of ancient hearts.

I am a member of the diaspora. I understand your anguish. Even if I’ve followed in your footsteps, I can’t stay.

My dreams are re-enactments of your longing: Golden dreams, Halomot Paz. I’m on a quest for reconnection, and I’m following the road you’ve woven.

However, I am a diaspora. I feel your anguish. I will not stay in your room, even if I dream in it.

— Patti Haskell, Rabbi


Many people will go to Jerusalem to see the Western Wall, the only surviving symbol of the First Temple, which was destroyed by the Babylonians. (Photo courtesy of Getty)

According to the mishna, the Temple was destroyed because of irrational hate.

not the Romans, not just them, but also our forefathers, with their siege engines

who become engrossed in petty backbiting and forgot how to give their hearts on Shabbat

We aren’t much better. We who are secretly aware that we are holier-than-thou

We who patronize and roll our noses, who check email on the holiest of days

who forget that a prayer is more than a melody or a collection of words on a page

Parents in Oslo cry, and we’re too busy debating motives to console them.

Parents throughout the Middle East cry, and we’re too preoccupied with fighting over borders to console them.

Our parents cry, shuddering and alone, in our nursing homes, and we’re too busy to notice —

What sanctuaries, what human hearts, are harmed and burnt even now?

as we bicker at each other, claim we’re not to blame, or turn away?

– Following The Fall


Worshippers will assemble all night at the Wailing Wall, the final surviving remnant of the Second Temple in Jerusalem Old City, on the Ninth of Av, according to the Hebrew calendar. (Photo courtesy of Getty)

Make an effort to praise the mutilated world.

Try to find something positive to say about the mutilated planet. June’s long days, wild strawberries, droplets of wine, and dew come to mind. The nettles that meticulously overgrow the exiles’ abandoned houses. You have no choice but to admire the wounded world. You stood there watching the elegant yachts and ships; one of them had a long journey ahead of it, while others were headed towards salty oblivion. You’ve seen the refugees on their way nowhere, and you’ve heard the executioners singing happily. You ought to be grateful for the damaged world. Remember when we were in a white room together and the curtain fluttered? Return to the concert where the music erupted. In the fall, you collected acorns in the park, and leaves eddied over the wounds of the ground. Praise the damaged earth and a thrush’s lost grey feather, as well as the soft light that strays, disappears, then reappears.

Adam Zagajewski (Adam Zagajewski)

We sit despondently on the ground, weeping, yet we are not alone in our grief. God drapes the heavens in darkness and covers them with sack; He dims the sparkling stars and veils the sun and moon’s brightness. He tears His purple robes and goes barefoot, then sits alone and quiet, weeping and asking, ‘Where are you?’ ’

– Tisha B’Av: We are not alone in our grief.

Quotes to honor those who have passed away


Tisha B’Av also remembers those who perished in various disasters that have befallen the Jewish religion, such as the Holocaust. (Photo courtesy of Getty)

Because they never gave up the hope that one day they would be able to live as Jews without fear, Jews endured all of the defeats, expulsions, persecutions, and pogroms, centuries of being considered as a pariah people, and even the Holocaust . – Jonathan Sacks

Our ancestors suffered five disasters… on the 9th of Av…. Our ancestors were forbidden to enter the [Promised] Land on the ninth of Av, the Temple was demolished for the first and second times, Bethar was conquered, and the city [Jerusalem] was dug up – Mishnah Ta’anit 4:6.

We insist that no one denies the Holocaust, and we cannot overlook another country’s suffering – Reuven Rivlin

Should I cry in the fifth month [Av], as I have done for so many years, when I separate myself? 7:3 – Zechariah

Freedom is always only a generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on via the bloodstream to our offspring. It must be fought for, preserved, and passed on to the next generation so that they may do the same – Ronald Reagan

So, how can we reconcile these dates? The heathens entered the Temple on the seventh day, ate there, and desecrated it during the seventh and eighth days, and then set fire to it at dark on the ninth day, and it burned for the rest of the day. … How will the Rabbis [explain why the 9th was chosen as the date]? The start of any tragedy [when the fire was lit] is more important – Ta’anit 29a of the Talmud


In the Jewish calendar, it’s a somber and revered event. (Photo courtesy of Getty)

When does Tisha B’Av fall?

Tisha B’Av occurs on the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av every year.

This occurs in the Gregorian calendar in either July or August.

Tisha B’Av 2021 will begin on Saturday, July 17 in the evening and conclude on Sunday, July 18.

Tisha B’Av is a Jewish holiday that occurs every year on Tisha B’Av.


Tisha B’Av 2021 will begin on the evening of Saturday, July 17th, with hundreds of Gush Katif residents, relatives, and friends standing arm in arm. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images) )

The day is regarded as the Jewish calendar’s saddest day, commemorating instances when Jews have been oppressed throughout history – typically on the ninth day of Av.

As a result, many people believe Tisha B’Av to be a day doomed to disaster.

The first tragedy commemorated on Tisha B’Av is the destruction of Jerusalem’s first temple by Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE, which killed 100,000 Jews.

The second is the destruction of Jerusalem’s second temple by the Romans in 70CE.

During Tisha D’Av, the Holocaust and World War I are also remembered.

What do people do to commemorate the occasion?


At the Wailing Wall, men pray (Picture: Getty Images)

Tisha B’Av is observed by Jews with prayers and fasting. Other traditions include avoiding wearing makeup, leather, or shaving on the date, as well as not engaging in idle talk, smiling, or laughing.

The lights at synagogues are generally muted, with ornaments removed from view, and the ark, which houses the Torah, is usually draped in black.

Tisha B’Av is commemorated with a variety of readings during evening prayers.

These readings typically include the Book of Lamentations, which is believed to have been penned by the prophet Jeremiah following the destruction of the first temple.

Laments for the dead are also chanted, and Jewish people in Israel often visit the Western Wall, which is made out of the remains of the second temple, to pay their respects to the deceased.

MORE: What is the date of Eid al-Adha in 2021?

MORE: Outside a Jewish school, a rabbi was attacked eight times.

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