Thursday, July 19, 2012

Remembering the destruction of the Bet haMiqdash

The upcoming month of Ab (begins tonight) is a time of mourning because of the events that took place on that month. Specifically, the destruction of the first Bet haMiqdash, the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, in the year 586 BCE and of the Second Bet haMiqdash, in the year 68 ACE. Both Temples were destroyed on the same date: the 9th of Ab. In addition to the customs of mourning that we have been following since the 17th of Tamuz (see here) we follow a few more traditions, as we will explain B'H tomorrow.   

Even thought we concentrate our mourning for the Bet haMiqdash on the 9th of Ab and a few days before that, our Rabbis mentioned a few traditions to be kept year-round to remember the destruction of our Temple (zekher lachurban).

The best known of these customs is that the groom breaks a glass at the end of the wedding ceremony and says: Im eshkakhech Yerushalaim ... "If I ever forget you Yerushalaim, may my right hand wither... If I won't remember Yerushalaim in the happiest moment of my life". The Rabbis also mentioned the custom that on the day of his wedding, the groom places ashes in his head, in the place where he usually wears his Tefillin.

Another tradition which is widely observed is that at the entrance of a Jewish home, close to the main door, we leave an unfinished-unpainted part on the wall. Symbolically, it is as if we were saying: How would I have a complete beautiful house, while the House of God is still in ruins... Thus, every time we enter our homes we remember the Bet haMiqdash.  

√ For the other traditions zekher lachurban (in Hebrew) see HERE (Maimonides, Ta'aniot, 5:12-15).

√ Read  HERE What happened to the Jews of Arabia? 
A story that should make every Jew shudder.
by Sara Yoheved Rigler