Thousands gathering to pray at site of Temple destruction.
Middle East (MNN) ― Tisha B'Av is the ninth day of the month of Av on the Jewish calendar. It's observed as a day of mourning, and this year it falls on July 24.
Tisha B'Av is the culmination of a three week period of increasing mourning. The Fast of the 17th of Tammuz commemorates the first breach in the walls of Jerusalem, before the First Temple was destroyed.
During this three week period, celebrations are not permitted, and people refrain from cutting their hair. From the first to the ninth of Av, it is customary to refrain from eating meat or drinking wine and from wearing new clothing.
E3 Partners' Tom Doyle says there's good reason for it. Over the course of history, Israel has suffered tragedy and catastrophe on Tisha b'Av. "The first Temple was leveled on the ninth of Av. The second Temple was leveled on the ninth of Av. The Spanish Inquisition started on the ninth of Av. The 'Final Solution' was presented to Hitler on the ninth of Av. So, as we're heading toward that, there seems to be, every year, this collective sigh of [resignation] 'ok, what's gonna happen this year?'"
Add to that the tinderbox situation Israel is in the middle of, and the tension mounts. Doyle says their partners are concerned. "With all of the pressure--Israel in a vice grip right now and Syria openly saying they're going to attack--Israelis are just bracing themselves for another tragedy, something coming their way. But on the other hand, that gives believers a chance to openly share their faith and talk about the hope in Yeshua as Savior."
While it's difficult work, Doyle says they're still resourcing a remnant church in the Middle East. Please continue to pray for the Christian workers still in the area. Click here if you can help.