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The fast of the ninth day of Av (Tisha B’av) is observed this Sunday. On this day, the Jewish people were exiled from ancient Israel, and both Holy Temples were destroyed, a tragedy whose consequences continue to be felt today.
There are a number of unique observances that mark this day. All healthy, adult Jews should fast from Saturday night until Sunday night (in Biloxi the fast begins at 7:54pm and ends the next night at 8:20pm.)
In addition to fasting, leather shoes should not be worn, bathing and showering should be curtailed, and we sit on low stools until Sunday afternoon. Havdalah is also postponed until Sunday night. Saturday night, we chant the book of Eicha, Lamentations. If you would like to join us, we will begin the reading at 9:15pm.
Truthfully, the date of the fast is this Shabbat. But because any form of public mourning would compromise the special festive nature of Shabbat, the fast is postponed until Saturday night/Sunday.
Not only do we not mourn on Shabbat, this Shabbat has a special nature to it. It is referred to as “Shabbat Chazon”, the “Shabbat of Vision”, due to the fact that the Haftorah we read in the morning recounts the prophet Isaiah’s vision of the sins that lead to the Temple’s destruction.
However, the famous Chassidic Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev explained that on this Shabbat, the soul of every Jew is given a vision of the future, rebuilt Jerusalem. On this day, we are able to spiritually perceive what the world will be like in the Messianic Era, when the Jews will return to their homeland, and the world will be enveloped in a G-dly peace.
We should all try to be extra attuned to our spiritual sides this Shabbat, so we can perceive this vision. And in the merit of us observing Shabbat, may G-d bring about this Era immediately, and may we celebrate this Tisha B’av with singing and dancing, in rebuilt Jerusalem.
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Akiva Hall