The fast in Jerusalem, via upyernoz on Flickr.
Thursday is Tisha B’Av. This is a holiday in Judaism where you fast. Religious Jews (and yours truly) fast on Tisha B’Av, or as I like to call it, HOLY CRAP B’Av, because on this day in history several bad things happened to Jews:
- The First and Second Temples were destroyed, resulting in immense national Jewish grief over the loss of our primary place of worship, not to mention thousands of dollars of Ikea furniture inside the temple
- In 70 CE, I should mention that the destruction of the Second Temple resulted in what many widely regard to be the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora, which resulted in Nothing Good (except for bagels.)
- In 134 CE, the razing of the city of Jerusalem occurred
- In 1290, The Jews were expelled from England
- In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain
- In 1942, mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka
- In 2005, I may have stepped on a nail
The fast is meant as a mourning period for all of the things we lost on Tisha B’Av over history. This involves not eating for 25 hours (Jews start holidays at sundown the night before the date and end at sunset on the next day.)
Given the primarily nationalist nature of the holiday and that it is based on events that can be historically proven (as opposed to some theoretical occurrences in the Bible,) Tisha B’Av is one of the few Jewish religious holidays that I partake in seriously, aside from Hanukah, because, come on, gelt.
So seriously did I partake in it last year that I started seeing spots and almost fainted. Fast fail. So obviously, I’m doing it again this year.
The year before, I was in Israel and everyone around me was all drinking their Cafe Aromas and eating delicious food. So, I didn’t pass out, but I did want to punch someone. Also, I almost yelled at our waitress at Yotvata in Hebrew when we went to break the fast there.
If you’re interested to know how I’ll fare this year, follow along on Twitter! Or fast along. Just pace yourself. Tisha B’Av is where we separate the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and me from everyone else who can actually handle a fast.