|Arch of Titus, 81 C.E., Spoils of Jerusalem |
In a city as ancient as this one, it helps to have a long historical view. The Jewish calendar insures that we do this annually when summer is at its height. Today marks the first day of the Hebrew month of Av and the first day of the period known as The Nine Days leading up to Tisha b’Av (the Ninth of Av). This period commemorates the siege of Jerusalem, culminating in the destruction of the Solomon’s Temple in 587 B.C.E. on the 9th of Av by Nebuchadnezzar II, and the destruction of Herod's Temple on the same day in 70 C.E. by Emperor Titus and the Romans. Many more calamities and events of significance have occurred on this day, resulting in the period being associated with great sadness, marked by observant Jews through reduced pleasures and ending with a fast day.
I remember growing up in the United States and being only vaguely aware of this period. I am sure they must have mentioned it along the way, but, then again, maybe not. This falls during typical school vacation times and, not being one of the kids who went to summer camp, it could have escaped my notice. But, living in Jerusalem, it is hard not to be aware of these special days. Many avoid live music concerts, movies, swimming, the beach and restrict themselves to meals without meat.
Living where I do, in the Jewish Quarter, one does not need to go far to find the few remains of the Roman Tenth Legion, they are peppered throughout the Old City. The most famous of all the representations of this time period, though, is not located in walking distance. One needs to be in Rome to see the Arch of Titus and the victorious march of Roman soldiers commemorated thereon, replete with the looted treasures of the Temple.
I will be posting one image each day representing the destruction of Jerusalem until Tisha b’Av. And to close, I can't resist not posting this recent archaeological find in Jerusalem. Now we can hear this bell's sound after 2,000 years of silence. After the recent appearance of Paul Simon in Israel, I guess you could call this The Sounds of UnSilence.