Tag: Talmud

A Night of Weeping, for the Generations


Tisha BAvThe book of Numbers describes how after the Israelites left Egypt, received the Torah, and built the Tabernacle, they were set to enter the Promised Land. As a precaution, Moses sent 12 princes “to spy out the Land of Canaan.” But when the spies returned, ten of them “spread an evil report of the land.” The people despaired and wept. As a consequence, God made the Children of Israel wander in the wilderness for 40 years, so that they would enter the Land of Israel only after the generation of slaves had died out.

According to Jewish tradition, the Israelites received a second punishment that night as well. “You weep for no reason,” the Talmud (BT Sanhedrin 104b) relates God saying, “so I will fix this as a night of weeping for you, for the generations.” The night in question is the ninth of the Hebrew month of Ab, or in Hebrew, Tish’a B’Av. It begins tonight.

The early Rabbis of the Talmud, who lived in the first few centuries CE, explain in tractate Taanit (M 4:6) that Tish’a B’Av is the date of five separate tragedies: “On the Ninth of Ab, it was decreed upon our ancestors that they would not be allowed to enter the Land of Israel; the First and Second Temples were destroyed; Beitar was captured; the city of Jerusalem was plowed over. From when the month of Ab starts, we reduce joy.”

Member Post


It’s Friday night. My family is gathered around our dining room table. The china and silverware gleam, offset by a white tablecloth. There is a nice bottle of wine — the adults aren’t driving tonight, no one has anywhere else to be — and the wineglasses capture the light of the candles on the sideboard. […]

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