Photo Credit: Flash 90
Tisha B'Av at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem

Thousands of people flocked to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem immediately after the end of the holy Sabbath, for the traditional recitation of the Biblical Book of Lamentations (Eicha). The fast of Tisha B’Av began Saturday night after sunset, delayed in honor of the Sabbath which takes precedence in Jewish law.

With one voice, together the multitudes gathered in the Western Wall plaza sang “Ani Ma’amin” — I Believe — the declaration of ultimate faith in the coming of Moshiach Tzidkenu, the Messiah.

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The fast of Tisha B’Av — the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av on the Jewish calendar — is the second most solemn day of the Jewish year after Yom Kippur. It marks the destruction of the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem and the start of our Diaspora, as well as other tragedies that befell the Jewish People on this day.

All of the Torah laws pertaining to grief and mourning are upheld on this day, including a prohibition against wearing leather, makeup, perfume or jewelry of any kind, showering or learning Torah, in addition to complete abstention from food and drink for a 24 hour period.

And yet, it is also written in the Jerusalem Talmud that Moshiach will be born, or has already been born, on Tisha B’Av. If the generation merits, it is up to him to reveal himself and to fulfill his role in bringing peace. And until then, “we await his coming . . . ” May it be God’s will that this will be the last year for the recitation of Lamentations.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.