Events of 9 Av

Someone asked me tonight about what happened on 9 av. M. Taanit 4:6 lists 5 things:

  1. Decree that the dor midbar wouldn’t enter Eretz Yisrael
  2. Hurban I
  3. Hurban II
  4. Beitar destroyed
  5. Yerushalayim destroyed

But I was also asked about other later historical events, like the Spanish expulsion and WWI. Did these events occur (or start) on 9 Av? Let’s put it to the test with some help from our good freinds at Hebcal. (What can I say, I’m a skeptic).

The Spanish Expulsion
The edict expelling the Jews was signed on July 30th 1492. Hebcal returns 26 Tamuz, 5252 but with the following disclaimer:

“WARNING: Results for year 1752 C.E. and before may not be accurate. Hebcal does not take into account a correction of ten days that was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII known as the Gregorian Reformation. “

Hebcal also includes a nice link with all the Gregorian details. (Hey, it’s my blog and I haven’t had any really horrible puns yet).

So as far as the expulsion in concerned, Hebcal can’t help us. Any math majors out there who want to figure this out?

WWI Corrected
The start of WWI easily falls within Hebcal’s range. The question is which date should we use? Archduke Ferdinand was assasinated on June, 28th 1914. This translates to 4 Tammuz 5674.

The first formal declaration of war came on July 28th when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Hebcal returns 5 Av.

Russia mobilizes against Austria and on July 31 (8 Av), Germany gives Russia an ultimatum to either disarm or face war. Due to Russia’s refusal, Germany formally declared war on Russia on Aug 1st. This was in fact 9 Av. The fighting began on Aug 2nd when Germany invaded Luxembourg, and Britain joined in on Aug 4th (this blogger’s B-Day) when Germany invaded Belgium.

So the first declaration of war came on June 28th and fighting actually began on Aug 2nd. Neither one of which is 9 Av.

Many thanks to Maxim Smyrnyi for the correction!

End result: One inconclusive, and one close but no cigar.

BTW – I’d love to hear from math or history buffs out there who could provide any more info and/or correct any mistakes I made.