Tisha B'Av, many national calamities occurred:
- During the time of Moses, Jews in the desert accepted the slanderous report of the 12 Spies, and the decree was issued forbidding them from entering the Land of Israel. (1312 BCE)
- The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more exiled. (586 BCE)
- The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, led by Titus. Some two million Jews died, and another one million were exiled. (70 CE)
- The Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The city of Betar -- the Jews' last stand against the Romans -- was captured and liquidated. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered. (135 CE).
- The Temple area and its surroundings were ploughed under by the Roman general Turnus Rufus. Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city -- renamed Aelia Capitolina -- and access was forbidden to Jews.
- The Spanish Inquisition culminated with the expulsion of Jews from Spain on Tisha B'Av in 1492.
- World War One broke out on the eve of Tisha B'Av in 1914 when Germany declared war on Russia. German resentment from the war set the stage for the Holocaust.
- On the eve of Tisha B'Av 1942, the mass deportation began of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka.
II. Expressions of Mourning:
1. Parameters of Fast
Refrain from eating or drinking from Monday, Jul 31st at 8:41pm until Tuesday, August 14th at 9:01pm. Those who are ill are often required to eat. Please consult a rabbi for the best possible procedures. A woman within 30 days after birth need not fast. Medicine may be taken on
B'Av (preferably without water). In case of great discomfort, the mouth may be rinsed with water. Great care should be taken not to swallow when rinsing. (MB 567:11)
2. Other prohibitions:
- Bathing or washing, except for removing specific dirt. Upon rising in the morning, before prayers, or after using the bathroom, one washes only the fingers.
- Anointing oneself for pleasure. (Deodorant is permitted.)
- Having marital relations.
- Wearing leather shoes.
- Learning Torah, since this is a joyful activity. It is permitted to learn texts relevant to TishaB'Av and mourning.
- Sitting no higher than a foot off the ground. After midday, (1:25 pm) one may sit on a chair.
- Not engaging in business or other distracting labours, unless it will result in a substantial loss.
- Refraining from greeting others or offering gifts.
- Avoiding idle chatter or leisure activities.