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Monday, August 4, 2014

Erev Tisha B'Av 2014

Today is erev Tisha b'Av, the day before the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, and tomorrow is the day when Jews everywhere will alter their behavior in specific, prescribed ways to demonstrate their grief as they mourn the loss of the two Jewish Temples in Jerusalem.  The Temples were both destroyed on the ninth of Av, one in 586 BCE and the other in 70 CE, and to this day we mourn.  This is the post I had planned for tomorrow, but I want to post it now. 

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Abstaining from Sexual Intercourse: Well, this one is pretty much self-explanatory!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
That's it, I think! More tomorrow.  Tonight I will be attending part of the Tisha b'Av service at my local Orthodox synagogue, because they have the only one in town.

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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!