This coming Saturday marks Tisha B’Av, or the ninth of Av on the Jewish calendar. It is a day of grieving for the Jewish people. On this date many atrocities throughout history befell the Jewish people, most notably the destruction of both the First and Second Temples fell on this date. However, multiple expulsions of Jews from countries in Europe also occurred on this day as well as the beginning of both World Wars. Tisha B’Av provides a direct line of connection to generations of Jewish suffering. It is a dedicated collective remembrance of the pain and persecution of the Jewish people that allows the memories to be carried forward from generation to generation.
This is a solemn fast day for Orthodox Jews. The practice of lament is also common on Tisha B’Av. According to Chabad, part of the observance of Tisha B’Av is a symbolic tidying of the home in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. There is an enduring theme in all solemn occasions in Judaism that relates to finding hope in even the darkest of situations. Hope in a future for the Jewish people and hope for the promised Messiah through the covenant relationship with God.
As believers, we know through scripture that God redeems all things. In Revelation 21:4 it says in relation to the New Jerusalem, “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” I used to read this verse and pain, death, and mourning simply ceasing to be, but when I considered the way that Judaism intentionally reminds its adherents to carry forward their collective painful memories it struck me that in order for pain and suffering to cease it would need to be reconciled.
There is a direct connection to the carrying forward of the memories of these painful atrocities and the waiting for them to be reconciled. While we know that only the Lord can wipe away centuries of pain, we all have a role to play in laying the framework for reconciliation. As anti-Semitism continues to increase in the world, we as a community of Jewish and Gentile believers have a burden to intercede for the Jewish people for both the Lord to intervene from any future atrocities occurring and for them to come to faith in their Messiah.