I could write a lot about Tisha b'Av. I have a lot of feelings about this day. I have decided that this post will be a bit of a "how to," descriptive post, along with some notes about what I personally plan to do tomorrow, and tomorrow's post will be more reflective, moody, and mournful. Tisha b'Av begins around 8:20 pm tonight, and will end around 8:50 pm tomorrow night.
Here is a list of the ways we mourn our missing Temple, a piece of the Jewish people that is no longer here, and which we pray will one day be here again.
- Fasting: From start to end of Tisha b'Av, we do not partake of any food or drink, yes, including water. I am actually not fasting this year for medical reasons. For me this is actually the hardest part of this day; even though I have the "go ahead" to drink and eat from both my doctor and my Rabbi, I feel as if I am...cheating, somehow.
- Abstaining from Sexual Intercourse: Well, this one is pretty much self-explanatory!
- Wearing No Leather Shoes: Leather, and especially leather shoes, is considered a sign of comfort and luxury. On Tisha b'Av we wish to humble ourselves, even to the point of discomfort, so we do not wear leather shoes. Footwear at the synagogue takes every form imaginable! I will be wearing a pair of old sandals.
- Refraining from Bathing, Washing, or Anointing: On Tisha b'Av, as we mourn, we do not take a bath, wash with soap, put on lotion or even deodorant. We do not wear perfume. We do not brush our teeth. Naturally, I will be doing all of the above (except the perfume) shortly before 8:20 pm tonight.
- Abstaining from the Wearing of Jewelry: Again, no luxury, no comfort. This one will be hard for me this year because I just recently fell in love with jewelry and am rediscovering my jewelry box.
- Sitting on Low Chairs or the Floor Until Midday: Sitting on low chairs or the floor is a mourning practice in Judaism. and because Tisha b'Av is a day of mourning, many people observe this custom. I myself will be sleeping in my bed tonight, but maybe (not sure yet) I will observe this custom tomorrow morning.