One thing I have learned in life is that is is crucial that we take time to remember and honor the destruction in our lives. Remembering the traumas in our past allows us to grieve in a healthy manner and ensures that we never forget the things that have made us what we are. We can never get away from our shadow, and we shouldn’t want to. We need not dwell on the darkness. It is unhealthy to do so. However, it is equally unhealthy to pretend that we have no shadow. Integration is key. Integration is balance. There is dark to every aspect of life.
In Judaism, there is a day for remembering destruction. Tish B’Av, the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av, is a day of destruction in Jewish history. Many terrible acts destruction have happened on this day, including the destruction of both temples. The 9th of Av is a day of mourning and fasting to mark and remember the terrible things in our past. If you want to read about the history of destruction on this day, you can do so here.
Because the Jewish calendar is lunar, the date varies on the Gregorian calendar each year. In 2019, the day fell on Saturday August 10. However, because the day fell on the Sabbath, it is observed on Sunday August 11. The Sabbath is a day of supreme joy and beauty, and we do not fast on the Sabbath. Traditionally, the day is observed through fasting, prayer, reading Lamentations, and general sadness.
I, personally, do not fast on Tish B’Av. I do tend to spend the day in solemness and reading of Lamentations. I take time to remember the destruction that has happened on this day and I try to find parallels in my own life and not just dwell on the world as a whole. I find it quite interesting, but not coincidental, that the day always falls around the time of Lughnassadh. It is the beginning of the shadow season. It’s still summer, but we are reaching the time of harvest and drawing closer to the time of death. What better time to take a day to observe and remember our past traumas?