Wednesday, August 02, 2006


The season of our discontent, that is.

For this evening marks the beginning of that Most Depressing of Jewish Holidays: Tisha b’Av.

The ninth day of the month Av is the saddest, most mournful day on the Jewish calendar, marking all sorts of historical calamities, including the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem. Pretty much anything rotten that ever happened to the Jewish people happened on Tisha b’Av, including the infamous expulsion of the Spanish Jews in 1492.

Season's Greetings
A well-intentioned but misplaced sentiment.
[Note: this is a fake sign.]

As I have noted here before, this is not your “have a nice day” kind of holiday. Customarily, you don’t even greet people with “good morning” on Tisha b’Av - there is nothing good about it. And such fun! - we sit on the floor reading the Book of Lamentations, while fasting for 25 hours.

That’s right. No food. No water. No leather shoes, an affectation of the Wealthy Folk. No luxurious hot baths. No perfume or Old Spice. And, of course, no Humma-Humma.

With no sex and no leather permitted, this is a day that is especially rough on Orthodox Jewish Sado-Masochists.

The good thing is, it’s only one day.

Tisha B’Av

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