Religion Posts

  • My new Twitter handle is now live - check me out at @jackiewgibson!

  • CNN has posted a history of bias against Sikhs - more reason for people to learn about religions before they attack anyone:...

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Hackers group Anonymous takes down Vatican website:

  • WGN-TV calls doomsday prophecies "an illusion":

  • RT @graceishuman: Really,? Asking people JUST LEAVING the service how they felt about it? Tacky, tacky, inappropriate

  • Whitney Houston's funeral service really took the world to church. Love Pastor Winans' honesty, very moving.

  • #teacher ? Here are appropriate responses to situations with your Jehovah's Witness student:

  • #Teachers: Want to know why your Jehovah's Witness student won't say the pledge and how to respond?

English flagItalian flagKorean flagChinese (Simplified) flagPortuguese flagGerman flagFrench flagSpanish flagJapanese flagArabic flag
Russian flagGreek flagDutch flagBulgarian flagCzech flagCroatian flagDanish flagFinnish flagHindi flagPolish flag
Romanian flagSwedish flagNorwegian flagCatalan flagFilipino flagHebrew flagIndonesian flagLatvian flagLithuanian flagSerbian flag
Slovak flagSlovenian flagUkrainian flagVietnamese flag      

Rabbi Derek LemanFollowing is a post from guest blogger, Rabbi Derek Leman. Visit his blog at And check out a recent post on his blog from Religion Transcends writer Jackie Walker.


Starting at sundown on August 9 and lasting until sundown on Sunday, August 10, observant Jews will be keeping the ancient fast of Tisha B’Av. This is the second most important day of fasting in the year, with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) being the greatest fast day.


Messianic Jews, that is Jews who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) the Jewish Messiah, will be observing this day along with all our Jewish brothers and sisters. (For more on Messianic Judaism, scroll to the end of this article.)


Why are Jewish people fasting on this day?

This day commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem not once, but twice in history. The Romans destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem on the 9th of Av on the Jewish calendar in the year 70 C.E. According to Jewish writings, it was on the exact same date that the Babylonians had destroyed the Temple and the city 600 years earlier in 586 B.C.E. The 9th of Av has become a day of sadness for Jews worldwide. Other tragic events of Jewish history are therefore remembered on Tisha B’Av, including the expulsion of the Jewish people from Spain in 1492.


Why is the Temple so important to Judaism?

Since Judaism has lived without a Temple for nearly 2,000 years, it might seem unimportant. But the Jewish prophets and the Jewish prayer book foretell the rebuilding of the Temple. The Book of Isaiah says, “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it” (Isa. 2:2). The house of the Lord is the Temple. Likewise, in the daily prayers, Jews pray for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the restoration of the fire offerings of Israel. Interestingly, the Christian New Testament agrees that there will be a Temple in Jerusalem at the end of the age (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8).


Why fasting?

From ancient times fasting has been considered the way to show sadness, repentance, and a desire for God to heal and help. Not only Hebrews, but other ancient peoples fasted in times of distress. For example, when the prophet Jonah told the Assyrian city of Nineveh that God would destroy them for their sins, the Book of Jonah says, “And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them” (Jonah 3:5). In his instructions for Yom Kippur, God commanded us Jews to deny ourselves (Lev. 23:27). The rabbis interpret this to mean fasting.


What are the practices of Tisha B’Av?

In addition to fasting, there are other restrictions for this day of sad remembrance. Observant Jews do not bathe for luxury (though necessary bathing is allowed) or wear perfumes or cosmetics. Leather shoes are avoided as a sign of luxury and wealth. Abstinence from sexual relations is considered essential. Many people sit on low stools as though mourning in the traditional Jewish way for a deceased loved one (this practice dates back to Job, who sat on an ash heap to mourn his family’s passing). Those who are unable need not fast, but should eat a plain diet.


Tisha B’Av reminds Jews that history has been full of tragedy. Although we prefer to dwell on the happy things of life, the wise also remember tragedy and consider the meaning of suffering and death. It is not morbid to reflect on sorrow and mortality. The book of Ecclesiastes says only a fool avoids learning these lessons (Eccles. 7:4). If more people would consider the certainty of death and the meaning of tragedy, more people would be drawn to God.


In Judaism there are a few days for fasting and mourning. Besides Tisha B’Av there is Yom Kippur, mourning our own sinfulness and hoping for God’s mercy. On Yom HaShoah, the remembrance of the Holocaust, we mourn the 6 million Jewish lives as well as the other lives lost in that terrible time in history.


But though there are days of mourning, there are many more days of feasting in Judaism. The weekly Sabbath, for example, is a day of feasting. There is a saying, “There are fifty-two days of feasting and only a few days of fasting; this is to show that God’s mercy outweighs his judgment.”


Derek Leman is a Messianic Jewish rabbi in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the author of many books including Feast and The World to Come. You can find Derek’s synagogue at and his blog at


Messianic Judaism is a modern movement of Jewish believers in Yeshua (Jesus) reclaiming the once lost idea of Jews being faithful to Torah and tradition as well as to faith in Yeshua. Messianic Jews see themselves as part of Judaism and at the same time related by faith with Christianity.


Be Sociable, Share!

6 Responses to “Guest Post: Celebrate Tisha B’Av!”

Leave a Reply