The term “Tisha B’Av Syndrome“ was coined by Isaac Herzog (recently elected Prisident of Israel and grandson of the 2nd Chief Rabbi of Israel) in 2015 when he accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of leading with a politics of fear and despair see: https://www.timesofisrael.com/herzog-netanyahu-suffering-from-tisha-bav-syndrome/
Tisha B'Av celebrated by Christians
“Jesus already prophesied the Destruction of Jerusalem: “For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:43-44). The Destruction is described as the vengeance of; God: “For these are days of vengeance, to fulﬁll all that is written” (Luke 21:22). From the fourth century on and throughout the Middle Ages, these verses were included in the pericope (the weekly reading from the Gospel) read at Mass on the eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, that is, during the week, of Tisha b’Av, thereby clearly paralleling the Jewish day of mourning for the Destruction of their Temple.”
Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages by Israel Jacob Yuval, p.39
The burning of Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 CE/AD created a profound dilemma for faithful Jews of the time. Hadn’t religious observance throughout the land reached new heights in the years preceding the war? Wasn’t the revolt against Rome directly the result of zealous people vowing to have “no master except the Lord?” (Ant. 18.1.6 23). Then why did the Lord allow the Romans to crush the revolt and destroy his Temple?
Josephus offered a variety of solutions to this problem. His overall goal was to defend the Jews against the accusation that their Lord had deserted them. A further goal, which he only hinted at, was to pave the way for approval by the Roman authorities, at some future time, for the rebuilding of the Temple.
- “I should not be wrong in saying that the capture of the city began with the assassination of Ananus [the High Priest by the Zealots]”
- “I cannot but think that it was because God had doomed this city to destruction, as a polluted city, and was resolved to purge his sanctuary by fire”
- “Certain of these robbers went up to the city, as if they were going to worship God, while they had daggers under their garments; and, by thus mingling themselves among the multitude, they slew Jonathan [the high priest]; and as this murder was never avenged, ….. And this seems to me to have been the reason why God, out of his hatred to these men’s wickedness, rejected our city; and as for the Temple, he no longer esteemed it sufficiently pure for him to inhabit therein, but brought the Romans upon us, and threw a fire upon the city to purge it; and brought upon us, our wives, and children, slavery – as desirous to make us wiser by our calamities.
- The Slaughter of the Guards – by Zealots
- Oh most wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy internal pollutions! For thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou longer survive, after thou hadst been a tomb for the bodies of thine own people, and hast made the Holy House itself a burying-place in this civil war of thine. Yet mayst thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction.
- Jesus in 63CE cursed the Temple and foretold its destruction. (War 6.5.3 288-309)
- Ruth Wisse“Is it not curious that the destruction of the Second Jewish Commonwealth came to be known from the perspective of a Jew determined to vindicate its destroyer? Josephus became an esteemed emissary to the Gentiles, the interpreter of the Jews to others as well as to themselves. Jews not only lost the war against Rome, but they supplied the historian who held them responsible for their downfall. By the middle of the sixteenth century, Josephus had been translated into every major western European language. Gentiles and Christians among whom the Jews resided learned from him that the Jews had deserved their ruin.”
Ruth R. Wisse. Jews and Power Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
Ruth Wisse on Power
the tendency of Jews to seek fault in themselves is part of the harmful pattern I hope to expose.
Mourning the Great Destruction became so intense that it almost rivals praise of God as the central motif of Jewish worship.
The prophets taught that the political fate of the Jews depended on their ability to convince not their rivals of their military prowess, but God of their uprightness. They linked a nation's potency to its moral strength, putting the Jews on perpetual trial for their political actions before a supreme judge.
Jews not only lost the war against Rome, but they supplied the historian who held them responsible for their downfall. By the middle of the sixteenth century, Josephus had been translated into every major western European language. Gentiles and Christians among whom the Jews resided learned from him that the Jews had deserved their ruin.
the Talmud subordinates Rome's function to the actions of the Jews and looks for explanations in Jewish rather than Roman behavior. Even Rabbi Yochanan, who ascribes defeat to the failure of Jewish realpolitik, thereby locates the error in his fellow Jews. The very nature of Talmudic debate turns the political focus inward, away from the enemy and toward its own constituency. Thus, in differing ways and for dissimilar ends, Josephus and the rabbis both held their fellow Jews accountable for their political failure. Crediting defeat to their own mistakes rather than to the superiority of their assailants was a way of preserving moral independence, since it ascribed agency to Jews or to God rather than to the victors.... no other people developed a similar long-range strategy of accommodation to defeat.
Such a long-range view of history subordinates or links immediate evidence of victory or defeat to ultimate expectations, and encourages the capacity for postponed political gratification.
But non-Jews were entitled to draw more obvious conclusions .... Christians, who anyway felt that theirs was a supercessionary faith, could and did interpret the Jews' dispersion as confirmation of Judaism's failure.
Once Muhammad had defeated the Jews at the battle of Khyber, he, too, regarded them as political inferiors, a point of view that still governs Muslim political thought.
Despite the frequency with which Jews were attacked or expelled, Jews interpreted their survival as proof of their invincibility. Successive national disasters were absorbed into the day of mourning for the First and Second Temples. A modern anthologist of the literature of destruction, David G. Roskies, shows how each generation of Jews marked its own tragedies through the rituals and images of earlier catastrophes. The Passover Haggadah reassures those who gather every year to reenact the Exodus from Egypt, “In every generation they stand up against us to destroy us, and the Holy One saves us from their hand,” with the emphasis falling not on the catastrophe but on the ability to outlive it.
This pride in sheer survival demonstrates how the toleration of political weakness could cross the moral line into veneration of political weakness. .... that they could testify to God's presence only by how much indignity they could bear.
Ruth R. Wisse. Jews and Power Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg - The Third Era of Jewish History: Power and Politics
The sacrilege of Powerlessness: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, but absolute powerlessness corrupts the most.”
Those who seek to minimize the religious significance of the Holocaust argue that there have been other catastrophes in Jewish life and that there is nothing especially decisive about this one. Actually, the opposite is closer to the truth. Lesser disasters had a profound impact on Judaism. The Kabbalah's spread and triumph in Jewish life was made possible and even necessary by the need for consolation and redemptive hope and meaning after the expulsion from Spain. And both the Shabbetai Zvi false messianic movement and Hasidism's growth owed a great deal to the search for meaning after the Chmelnitsky mass pogroms of the seventeenth century.
Jewish powerlessness is also immoral. It tempts anti-Semites into evil behavior. Had there been no Jewish army or air force there would have been another Holocaust or two since 1945 and the singling out of Jews for imprisonment or destruction such as almost happened at Entebbe would have gone unchecked. Since the kind of power needed for self-defense in the modern period is only available to sovereign states, the Jewish consensus has raised the obligation for Jews to assume power to the level of sacred principle.
In the exilic phase, the great task of religion was to give dignity to the powerless, to show that one also serves by standing and waiting. Martyrdom was the highest sanctification of God's name. Since the condition itself could not be changed, the stress on exile as punishment for Israel's sins was a way of asserting control over the Jews' fate, a way of reclaiming moral dignity. If only Jews would repent enough, they would be delivered so they can perform morally responsible actions. The dignity of suffering, the hope for the world to come, the moral heroism of ascetism, penitential prayer—thousands of religious values and practices were conditioned to heal and uphold powerless Jewry.
The emergence of the State of Israel constituted the taking of power into Jewish hands so that Jews could shape their own destiny and affect or even control the lives of others. It represented a revolutionary, 180 degree moral turn in the religious situation. The dilemmas of power are far different from the temptations and problems of powerlessness. Jews have been fond of contrasting Christian persecution of Jews or Christianity's failure to crusade for social justice in the medieval world with Jewish behavior. It remains to be seen whether Judaism did not act similarly merely because it was powerless and whether it will not repeat or do worse in a situation of power. Will Judaism be able to function in a situation of power without becoming an established religion which interferes with the freedom of others, both Jews and non-Jews?