Arieh Ben Gurion
The Importance of Tisha B’Av
Tisha B’Av, 1981
I the undersigned hereby testify that I did not invent the date of the 9th of Av. I have found helpful testimonies in writings, that already in the month of Av 5694 (1934) my teacher, Berl Katzenelzon, reprimanded me and my friends, the “Machanot Olim” instructors, for conducting a trip and a camp in the Ben Shemen Forest on the 9th of Av.
He called his public response: “Destruction and Detachment”, and Berl published his reprimand in the newspaper “Davar”, of which he was the editor. As to the negative and positive responses he continued immediately in a second article, called “The Sources did not disappoint”.
We used to print part of this article for many years on the internal page of our Passover haggadah, with the beautiful graphic execution of David Aleph, Berl’s wonderful words about Passover: “A nation preserves for thousands of years the day we left the house of bondage” etc. In this section immediately following the definition of the duty of the memory of Passover, as an educational order, comes the educational reading to preserve Tisha B’Av as the day of loss of our freedom – never to be forgotten. “Because on this day each and every generation and every person in Israel sees as if his world has been destroyed” – I have carried the burning of this educational fire with me since I was a youth….