The Ninth of Av is considered to be the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. The rabbis held that it was preordained to be a day of tragedy for the Jewish people.
On Tisha B'av in 1290 King Edward I signed an edict compelling his Jewish subjects to leave England.
The expulsion from Spain happened on the same day in 1492.
The date also marked the outbreak of WWI, a period that witnessed the pogroms and massacres in Eastern Europe, and also was a prelude to WWII.
On this day, people fast and wail and pray, sitting in sackcloth on the ground. Before the fast some eat bread dipped in ashes.
Since the sad day is intended to memorialize the loss of the two Temples thousands of years ago, and the exile of the people from Israel, and because since that time, the Jewish state has been reestablished, some argue that a fast connected with the destruction of Jerusalem has lost its meaning and should be discontinued.
Some go so far as to say that Tisha B'Av, this day of mourning, should be observed as a joyous festival.
Maimonides' taught that it is still important to remember past tragedies as a constant stimulus for repentance and good deeds.
Dr. Robert Gordis, after an extensive discussion of the question concludes that Tisha B'Av is indeed a very significant observance for modern Jews, even with the state of Israel before us as a reality, because, he writes: "It can focus attention upon the universal aspects of the Messianic hope, which have long been integral to Judaism."
That Messianic hope is that the world is indeed perfectible. That peace will reign among all the peoples of the world. In some ways, Tisha B'Av is a day of mourning not only for our people's loss thousands of years ago, but for the shattered state of the world today-a day that demands our commitment to help fix it.
Tears, here, don't soften
The eyes. They only polish
The hardness of faces, like rock.
Suicide attempts of Jerusalem:
She tried again on the ninth of Av.
She tried in red and in fire
And in slow destruction
By wind and white dust.
She'll never succeed;
But she'll try again and again.
To be the mayor of Jerusalem.
It is terrible.
How can any man be the mayor of a city like that?
What can he do with her?
He will build and build and build.
And at night
The stones of the hills round about
Will crawl down
Toward the stone houses
Like wolves coming
To howl at the dogs
Who have become men's slaves.
Jerusalem is a port city on the shore of eternity.
The temple mount is a huge ship, a magnificent
Luxury liner. From the portholes of her Western Wall
Cheerful saints look out, travelers. Hasidim on the pier
Wave good-bye, shout hooray, hooray, bon voyage! She is
Always arriving, always sailing away. And the fences and the piers
And the policemen and the flags and the high masts of churches
And mosques and the smokestacks of synagogues and the boats
Of psalms of praise and the mountain-waves. The shofar blows. Another
One has just left. Yom Kippur sailors in white uniforms
Climb among the ladders and ropes of well-tested prayers.
And the commerce and the gates and the golden domes:
Jerusalem is the Venice of God.