Monday, July 23, 2007


Well, maybe not this one.

For this evening marks the beginning of that Most Depressing of Jewish Holidays: Tisha b’Av.
“Is there no balm in Gilead?” - Jeremiah 8:22
“Your shit’s fucked up.” - Warren Zevon
According to popular wisdom, the typical Jewish holiday can be deconstructed as follows: “They tried to kill us. They failed. Let’s eat!” But Tisha b’Av - literally, the ninth day of the month of Av - is a notable exception...because even though they didn’t kill all of us, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Without a doubt, Tisha b’Av is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. It commemmorates all sorts of historical calamities, including the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of the Jews...not once, but twice. Traditionally, it’s also a day to mourn the devastation of Jewish communities in Europe by the Crusades in the eleventh and twelfth centuries C.E.; the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain under Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand; and the seventeenth-century depredations of the Cossacks under Bogdan (may his name be erased) Chmielnicki and his successors.

In fact, pretty much anything rotten that ever happened to the Jewish people happened on Tisha b’Av. Except maybe World War II, which started the day before Tisha b’Av.

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

As I have noted here in prior years, 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 - because there is nothing good about it. And such fun! Fasting for 25 hours. Sitting on the floor reading the Book of Lamentations by candlelight. Dressing up like Donald Duck. [OK, I made that last one up.]

Yessiree, Bob. No food. No water. No leather apparel. No luxurious hot baths. No perfume, massage oil, or Old Spice. And, of course, no Ficky-Fick.

Nuts. I guess the Missus and I are gonna have to postpone that Mazola Party.

For one day, anyway.

Tisha B’Av

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