Both the first and second Holy Temples which stood in Jerusalem were destroyed on Av 9: the First Temple by the Babylonians in the year 3338 from creation (423 BCE), and the second by the Romans in 3829 (69 CE).
|Excavated stones from the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (Jerusalem), knocked onto the street below by Roman battering rams in 70 C.E. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Mourning the destruction of the Temple and the exile of Israel, (see "Today in Jewish History") the Jews abstain from eating and drinking, bathing, the wearing of leather footwear, and marital relations--for the night and day of Av 9 (i.e., from sundown on Av 8 to nightfall on Av 9). It is customary to sit on the floor or a low seat until after mid-day. Torah study is restricted to laws of mourning, passages describing the destruction of the Temple, and the like. The tefillin are worn only during the afternoon Minchah prayers. (For more laws and customs see link below.)
The Ninth of Av is also a day of hope. The Talmud relates that Moshiach ("anointed one"--the Messiah), was born at the very moment that the Temple was set aflame and the Galut began. [This is in keeping with the teachings of the Jewish sages that, "In every generation is born a descendent of Judah who is worthy to become Israel's Moshiach" (Bartinoro on Ruth); "When the time will come, G-d will reveal Himself to him and send him, and then the spirit of Moshiach, which is hidden and secreted on high, will be manifested in him" (Chattam Sofer).]
Mitzvah Minute: Tisha b'Av
Laws of Tishah B'Av
Fast of Tishah B'Av