A large number of Jews visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem to mark the solemn day of Tisha b'Av. The worshipers gathered today to commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples and recited the Book of Lamentations while sitting on the ground in front of the Wall.
Tisha B'Av is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. On this day, the fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem - which occurred about 490 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date. Accordingly, the day is called the "saddest day in Jewish history."
Jews in Israel and other regions of the world observe the day by reciting the sacred book of Lamentations. Jews, on this day, distribute home cooked dishes among themselves to enlighten the spirit of cooperation and unity.
Five famous events commemorated on Tisha b'Av include:
1. God's decree that the Israelites would wander in the wilderness for 40 years.
2. The destruction of the First Temple.
3. The destruction of the Second Temple.
4. The end of the Bar Kochba revolt, when the Romans destroyed the city of Betar.
5. The city of Jerusalem was plowed over by Turnus Rufus, a Roman general.
Moreover, for Jews, the saddest day of their calendar, calls for special obligations and reservations. In addition to fasting (no food or drink) for a 25-hour period from sundown Monday to nightfall on Tuesday, additional restrictions include refraining from washing, using lotions, wearing leather shoes and marital relations.
It is among the additional customs of the day that the Torah study is forbidden on Tisha B'Av (as it is considered a spiritually enjoyable activity), except for the study of distressing texts such as the Book of Lamentations, the Book of Job, portions of Jeremiah and chapters of the Talmud that discuss the laws of mourning.
According to the Rema, it is customary to sit on low stools or on the floor, as is done during shiva from the meal immediately before the fast until noon. Beit Yosef rules that the custom extends until one prays Mincha (the afternoon prayer).
According to Classical Jewish sources, the Jewish Messiah will be born on Tisha B'Av, though many explain this idea metaphorically, as the hope for the Jewish Messiah was born on Tisha B'Av with the destruction of the Temple.