At sundown tonight, Jews around the world will begin observance of Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av on the Hebrew calendar.
On Tisha B’Av, we remember the atrocities committed against the Jewish people throughout history. Chief among these is the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem, as well as the exile of the Jews of Israel who were dispersed to “the four corners of the earth” in the first century.
Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning, considered the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. We fast, and we refrain from activities considered pleasurable. It is customary to sit on the floor, just as we do when sitting shiva after someone dies. In synagogue, we read from the biblical book of Lamentations, which describes the destruction of Jerusalem and the first temple.
This year, the Jewish people will certainly not be mourning alone. The entire world is hurting. The coronavirus has turned our world upside down. Hundreds of thousands of people have died. Economies are crumbling, and the long-term implications of both the virus and our drastic economic downturn are simply unknown.
But if you’re sharing in our grief, you should also share in the message of hope we have through Tisha B’Av. Because as we mourn all that we have lost, we also look forward to what God has in store for us.