Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tisha B'Av

The ritual of the Masonic degrees involves a mythical incident during the building of King Solomon's Temple. In both the York and Scottish Rite degrees, the story is carried on through the destruction and rebuilding of that temple.

Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of Av) is the Jewish day commemorating the destruction of King Solomon's Temple in 70 B.C.E This year, it falls on July 30.

The First Temple was built by King Solomon and was the most important place in ancient Judaism. It was destroyed when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. The Second Temple was built on the site of the First Temple and was completed in 516 B.C.E. Sadly, the Second Temple was also destroyed, this time during the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. The destruction of the two Temples took place on the same day – the ninth of Av - about 656 years apart. These two events were so tragic that the ancient rabbis declared the anniversary of the Temples’ destruction a day of mourning. This is the origin of Tisha B'Av.

The ninth of Av also happens to be the day that Jews were expelled from England in 1290, as well as the day that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492. Any way you look at it, the ninth of Av has not been a good day for the Jewish people.

Tisha B'Av should remind Masons that intolerance has been with us for thousands of years. That does NOT mean it is inevitable and will be with us for thousands of more years. Now is the time to take a stand, end intolerance, and truly live as Brothers.

Thanks to Worshipful Master Jay Weinblatt for reminding me of this day and blog topic.