We are a resource to the Jewish community of Columbus, providing important informational guides to enable understanding of the rich heritage of halakhot (Jewish laws) and traditions that shape our Jewish lives.
Below, please find step-by-step guides for preparing for Tisha B’Av and the Three Weeks, and also for Pesach.
Chametz (Leaven) includes any product that is made of or derived from wheat, barley, spelt, rye, or oats, and that has been allowed to become leavened. It is prohibited to eat (achila) or derive any benefit (hana’a) from chametz throughout Pesach. It is also prohibited to possess any chametz (bal yeira’eh u-bal yimatzei) throughout Pesach. In order to avoid the prohibition of possessing chametz, we destroy it (hashbata) or nullify it (bittul) or sell it to a non-Jew (mechirah). Additionally, we are concerned about any chametz that may have been absorbed into surfaces or utensils that will be used in food preparation. In this guide, we present information that you may need to prepare your homes for Pesach.
Temple worship was established in the Tabernacle as the Jewish people made their steady advance toward the Land of Israel after their Exodus from Egypt. From that time on for nearly a thousand years, the mainstay of Jewish service to God, and the hallmark of the very continuity of our Jewish heritage, was the daily morning and afternoon offerings known as the Korbanot Tamid – the Continual Sacrifices.
As the Jews grew from a nation of slaves to a Mesopotamian power, not a single day passed when the Continual Sacrifices were not offered morning and afternoon, day in and day out.
But in 586 B.C.E, Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege to Jerusalem, and on the 17th day of Tammuz (Shiv’a Asar Be-Tammuz) that year, the supply of livestock in the barricaded city finally ran dry. For the first time since they were instituted in the shadow of Mt. Sinai, the Continual Sacrifices were discontinued.
On the 9th day of Av (Tish’a Be-Av) that year, the Babylonian army set fire to Solomon’s Holy Temple, and it burnt to the ground that night and all day on the 10th of Av.
Hundreds of years later, long after the Temple had been rebuilt, Romans led by Titus again laid siege to Jerusalem, breaching the walls of the Holy City on none other than the 17th day of Tammuz, and ultimately destroying the Temple on the 9th day of Av.
Because of these terrible tragedies and many others that surround these dates in Jewish history, the entire time period from 17 Tammuz to 9 Av is a time of great mourning and sadness for the Jewish people. These three weeks are called בין המצרים – bein hametzarim, a temporal space squeezed narrow by the dates of oppression that surround it.
The above guide is to help us understand and maintain the practices of mourning and commemoration that help us bring to life the most devastating dates on our religious calendar.
May the Jewish people know no more suffering, and may the Messiah return us to our homeland, and our service to the Holy Temple. May the streets of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount be rebuilt speedily in our days.