But today is a major Jewish holiday, Tisha B'Av, the Ninth of the Month of Av. It is, by Jewish tradition, the date of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem. And it seems to have been a really bad day in other times too. Here's a Wikipedia quote and the link to the fuller article:
I'm pretty sure the proper greeting is not "Happy Tisha B'Av," but I hope Jewish readers will understand that I acknowledge the centrality of this holiday in Jewish, and particularly, Zionist, understanding of the present Israeli state.
The five calamities
- The twelve scouts sent by Moses to observe the land of Canaan returned from their mission. Two of the scouts, Joshua and Caleb, brought a positive report, but the others spoke disparagingly about the land which caused the Children of Israel to cry, panic and despair of ever entering the "Promised Land". For this, they were punished by God that their generation would not enter the land. Because of the Israelites' lack of faith, God decreed that for all generations this date would become one of crying and misfortune for their descendants, the Jewish people. (See Numbers Ch. 13–14)
- The First Temple built by King Solomon and the Kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE and the Judeans were sent into the Babylonian exile.
- The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, scattering the people of Judea and commencing the Jewish exile from the Holy Land.
- Bar Kokhba's revolt against Rome failed in 135 CE. Simon bar Kokhba was killed, and the city of Betar was destroyed.
- Following the Roman siege of Jerusalem, the razing of Jerusalem occurred the next year. A Temple was built in its stead to an idol.