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#239: NO MORE Tish’ah b’Av REPEATED!


Tish’ah b’Av became a symbol for all the catastrophes that fell on the Jewish people throughout their history. Since then, as shown below, many events befell near this day......
Remember, LORD, what has happened to us;
    look, and see our disgrace.
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
    our homes to foreigners.
We have become fatherless,
    our mothers are widows.
We must buy the water we drink;
    our wood can be had only at a price.
Those who pursue us are at our heels;
    we are weary and find no rest. ... 
Women have been violated in Zion,
    and virgins in the towns of Judah.
Princes have been hung up by their hands;
    elders are shown no respect.
Young men toil at the millstones;
    boys stagger under loads of wood.
The elders are gone from the city gate;
    the young men have stopped their music.
Joy is gone from our hearts;
    our dancing has turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head.
    Woe to us, for we have sinned!
Because of this our hearts are faint;
    because of these things our eyes grow dim
for Mount Zion, which lies desolate,
    with jackals prowling over it.
You, LORD, reign for ever;
    your throne endures from generation to generation.
Why do you always forget us?
    Why do you forsake us so long?
Restore us to yourself, LORD, that we may return;
    renew our days as of old
unless you have utterly rejected us
    and are angry with us beyond measure.
LAMENTATIONS 5:1-5 ... :11-22.
On 26th July this year, Jewish people around the world observed Tish’ah b’Av, i.e., “The Ninth Day of the Month of Av” (July - August). It is the saddest day in the Jewish calendar when they are to fast and mourn because so many tragedies occurred on this day.

On this day in 586 BCE, the First Temple, built by Solomon was destroyed by Babylonian King Nebuchdnezzar and the Babylonian captivity began. The predictions in Micah 3:12, and Lamentations 5:2 as quoted in the beginning were all fulfilled. What Zechariah mentioned in Zechariah 8:19 as ‘the fast day of the fifth month’ is of this day Tish’ah b’Av.

On the same day in 70 CE, the Second Temple, expanded by Herod the Great was destroyed by the Romans, which Christ had precisely predicted: 
‘The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you”’ (Luke 19:43-44). 
Further, in 135 CE, the last fortress “Betar”, which was held out against the Romans during the Bar Kochba revolt finally fell.

It is not a coincidence of history but a reflection of God’s far-reaching plans that both temples were destroyed on the same date on the Jewish calendar, which is expressed in the rabbis’ terms, “Coincidence is not a kosher word”. In other words, there is no coincidence in God’s kingdom. Thus, Tish’ah b’Av became a symbol for all the catastrophes that fell on the Jewish people throughout their history. Since then, as shown below, many events befell near this day and so, it is said that many Jews believe the possibility of another future catastrophe for them, probably by nuclear weapons, now that the new Iranian nuclear deal was announced on 14th July. Among all the growing backlash against the new deal, the following excerpt is an example.
The Iran deal, announced on July 14th, capped a dozen years of secret overtures, false starts, clandestine meetings, and unpublished correspondence between Washington and Tehran. …
The deal is inextricably enmeshed in Middle East tensions. The State Department’s annual terrorism survey, released last month, chronicled Tehran’s increased aid to Iraq’s militias, the Assad regime in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza, along with “subtle efforts at growing influence elsewhere, including in Africa, Asia, and, to a lesser extent, Latin America.” Tehran provided a billion dollars in credit to Damascus this month to ease the economic strains of war, on top of more than three billion in credit in 2013. Israel has repeatedly vowed to take unilateral military action if its interests are threatened.
The deal is also embroiled in disputes between Islam’s Sunni majority and its Shiite minority. The Middle East is driven by sectarian wars—most notably in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen—that threaten to reconfigure its map. Each of those wars pits allies of Saudi Arabia, the Sunni guardian of Islam’s holiest sites, against Iran, the world’s largest Shiite power. In the final weeks of diplomacy, the foreign minister of an Arab country told me, earnestly, that he believed Iran was intent on taking over Mecca.
Iran has the biggest military in the Gulf (twelfth worldwide), vast petroleum resources, and a consumer-goods-hungry population larger than its seven Gulf neighbors combined. Arab sheikhdoms are nervous that a deal will begin realigning U.S. interests with those of their Persian rival. Iran had been a pillar of U.S. policy until the revolution and the hostage crisis. After the rupture, Washington intensified its ties with Saudi Arabia, a desert sheikhdom that rose to prominence after the 1973 oil-price wars, and with Egypt after it concluded the 1979 peace treaty with Israel. Arabs fear that those alliances are at stake. The Persians could make a comeback. The deal could shift the geostrategic balance of power in the Middle East.
(‘Tehran’s Promise’ The New Yorker, July 27, 2015 issue)
According to Jewish tradition, Tish’ah b’Av was the date of many other disasters for the Jews, including Israel’s patriarchs. The following dates of events are owed to Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David.
(1) Going back to the ancient biblical times, Jacob was confronted by Esau, on his return to Canaan (Genesis 33:1ff).
(2) Moses went up on Sinai, a second time, to plead for mercy after the golden calf (Exodus 32:30-35).
(3) Twelve spies who were sent to the Promised Land by Moses retuned with ten wicked reports and two good reports. As a result, God decreed that Israel would not be allowed to enter the land (Numbers 13:25, 14:22-23, :33-36).
(4) Roman Emperor Hadrian established a heathen temple on the Temple mount (Taanit 29a).
(5) In 1095 CE, during the first month of First Crusade declared by Pope UrbanⅡ, ten thousand Jews were killed.
(6) In 1290 CE, expulsion of Jews out of England by King EdwardⅠwas accompanied by pogroms and confiscation of their books and property.
(7) In 1492 CE, expulsion of Jews out of Spain by King Ferdinand forced all Jews to leave Spain.
Among them were Christopher Columbus and his crew, who set out on their historic voyage from Spain, resulting in the discovery of the American continent. In passing, it is believed that Columbus’ motivation was his biblical view of scientific data as well as spiritual faith in the Scriptures as “Marranos”. He feigned conversion, practising Catholicism outwardly while remaining a Jew inwardly, and he was driven more by biblical prophecy than astronomy. There is an intriguing story about the date of Columbus’ voyage. The deadline for Jews to leave Spain was 3rd August 1492, and knowing that the date was Tish’ah b’Av, “the Ninth of Av”, when the Jews should commemorate the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem with fasting, Columbus and his crew boarded their vessels before midnight, and sailed one-half hour before sunrise on 3rd August.
(8) In 1555, Ghetto was established in Rome and Pope Paul Ⅳ moved all Jews into a foul smelling area near the Tiber River.
(9) In 1914, World WarⅠbegan, when 75 % of all the Jews lived in war zones.
(10) In 1941, a decree went forth expelling all the Jews from Hungarian Ruthenia.
(11) In 1994, deadly bombing of the Jewish community centre in Argentina killed 86 and wounded 300.
(12) In 2005, the Israeli withdrawal from twenty five settlements in the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria began on 14th August, Tish’ah b’Av.
Furthermore, in 1989, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait took place on Tish’ah b’Av. Also, in 1990, Gulf War began with Desert Storm on Tish’ah b’Av and in 1991, it ended on 28th February, the day of the Feast of Purim, which commemorates the Jew’s great deliverance from a plot of annihilation in times of Esther. During the Gulf War, twenty nine scuds hit Israel with no fatalities.
Tish’ah b’Av is not only observed by refraining from all sources of joy, but also unusually, it is the only day when even the study of Torah is forbidden, because this would be a source of joy. All one is permitted to study is the Book of Job and the sections of Jeremiah, including Lamentations quoted in the beginning. However, the following article also tells of a sense of grief coexisting with a subtle sense of joy: ‘There is a Jewish tradition that the Messiah will be born on Tisha b’Av, reversing the centuries of travail and suffering that have been the lot of the Jewish people. Like the mystical phoenix rising from the ashes, ultimate redemption will result from the depths of destruction and despair. An expression of this surprisingly hopeful mood as the day progresses is the custom of sweeping the house on the afternoon of Tisha b’Av in case the Messiah should come. …At the afternoon service, tallit and tefillin are worn (both are usually worn during the morning service, with the exception that the tallit is worn on Kol Nidre night), a sign that the mourning practices of Tisha b’Av will end at sundown. The ark curtain and Torah mantles are restored, the Torah is read again, and the full Kaddish is recited (including the line requesting that God accept their pleas [titkabeil]). There is an additional paragraph stressing comfort and looking hopefully to the future redemption. After sundown and the breaking of the fast, some go outside for the joyful service of Kiddush Levanah (Sanctification of the Moon)’
In Japan, this year is the 70th after the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both of which took place in August, i.e., the Month of Av. As for what happened on these dates, on 6th and 9th, respectively in Hiroshima and in Nagasaki, the following is a brief summary, which I have composed based on “The Atomic Bomb 60 Year Questionnaire” carried out by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. On this letter I would like to deal with the former alone. On 6th August 1945, 
‘with the dropping of one atomic bomb, the City of Hiroshima, with a population of about 350,000, was decimated. Under the mushroom cloud people struggled hard to find ways to survive. For the A-bomb survivors it was the beginning of the long arduous road they were to travel. 13,204 A-bomb survivors from around the country responded to the "A-Bomb 60 Years Questionnaire Survey" conducted by the Asahi Shimbun. We produced "August 6" based on the testimonials of 8,576 Hiroshima survivors who replied.’
7:31a.m. The alarm was lifted and despite B-20s being seen, people continued to work in the warehouse.
8:15 a.m. The A- bomb was dropped. Something hot ran through a survivor’s body and his friend’s hair caught fire. 
"Hiroshima has been attacked by a new type of bomb. The city is in a state of near-total destruction".
8:45 a.m. A firestorm erupted. A survivor fled the area and had to leave behind his younger sister lying underneath a fallen building. 
‘On the morning of August 6, in various areas outdoor work to evacuate buildings was being carried out and numerous students who had been mobilized became victims of the A-bomb. Evacuation activities were carried out in seven locations in Hiroshima and a total of about 8,400 teachers and students participated. About 70 percent of them died, but some classes miraculously survived thanks to the judgment of escorting teachers’.
9:00 a.m. Rain intensified. Hideously burnt faces filled the streets with moaning. 
‘Soon big drops of black rain fell on Hiroshima, especially in the northwestern area. It is recorded that the rain continued until evening, when some of the fires began to wane. …The black rain fell at least as far as 30 kilometers from the hypocenter. ... Disaster victims from throughout the city began fleeing to the outskirts of the city. …many boys and girls lying on the ground. They were among the students who were engaged in the building evacuation work near the city hall. They were disfigured beyond recognition and groaning “Water! Water!”’.
5:00 p.m. Air-defense headquarters were set up. A survivor applied oil to a victim and there was a line of fifty people. 
‘Hijiyama Park, 2.5 kilometers from the hypocenter, was one such aid center. In the morning many wounded people arrived at a bomb shelter that had been dug out on a slope. …A flood of patients also went to the Ono Army Hospital about 20 kilometers west of Hiroshima. …Elsewhere, trains and trucks carrying wounded people left the city to go to the suburbs. National schools and hospitals in the rural districts had been converted into emergency shelters and relief stations. About 150,000 disaster victims took refuge throughout the prefecture’.
Early dawn 7th August, the United States announced their drop of the A-bomb. Despite it being mid-summer, a survivor felt abnormally cold and shivered. 
‘An emergency relief station was set up in Ninoshima in Hiroshima Bay, where an army quarantine station had been located since before the war. About 10,000 wounded people were taken there and to a nearby temple. …August 7, 1:00 a.m. (Japan time). U.S. President Truman announces on the radio to the world: "Sixteen hours ago, an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. … It is an atomic bomb." …There were no prisoner of war camps in the city of Hiroshima, but at least twelve American POWs are believed to have become disaster victims at Chugoku Military Police Headquarters and elsewhere near the hypocenter. American prisoners of war, who were on the verge of death, became the target of hatred of civilians in the wake of the A-bomb’.
The end note puts it: 
It is estimated that by the end of December 1945 nearly 140,000 people had died in Hiroshima on account of a single atomic bomb dropped on August 6 that year. Ever since, the A-bomb victims have continued to suffer from radiation-related aftereffects and many died as a result. Even now, the A-bomb survivors are still filled with anxiety about their health. According to Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, as of March 31, 2011 the number of hibakusha (holders of Atomic Bomb Survivor's Certificates) was 219,410. Their average age is 77.44 years old. (2011)
Japanese people commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War on 15th August. Worldwide nuclear and conventional disarmament on man’s side is a must for God’s blessing and peace. We should not have a repeat of such man-made tragedies.
Continue to next time.