The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av is the most dreaded day in Jewish history. The deadliest and most destructive events throughout the millennia have occurred on this terrible day. The destruction of the First and Second Temples in ancient times. The start of the First and Second World Wars in modern times. The expulsion of the Jews from England 728 years ago. The expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif 13 years ago.
Tisha B’Av 1492
The events of 9 Av have changed the fate of the Jewish people in every millennia.
Tisha B’Av 1492. The Jewish people had lived in Spain for approximately 1000 years. Merchants, craftsmen, statesmen, philosophers, poets, astronomers, Talmudic authorities, rabbinical scholars, the Spanish Jewry had reached heights heretofore unknown by their brethren.
And the great achievements of the legendary Jewish figures, the Rambam, Yehuda HaLevi, Chasdei Ibn Shaprut, Shmuel HaNagid, the Abravanel and more, not only enriched the Jewish world with their brilliance, but the great Spain of the old world.
All of this changed with the monarchy of Ferdinand and Isabella. Celebrated as the rulers who sent Columbus to sail across the globe, they were also the unbending monarchs who resolved to create a Spanish Empire, united by Catholicism. Jews (and Moors) were commanded to convert to Christianity or be expelled from their homes.
The fateful day of expulsion was Tisha B’Av 1492. While population estimates were hardly precise, some estimates say that 300,000 Jews were exiled, at least 60,000 were murdered, 300,000 Jews forcibly or voluntarily converted. The Jews of Spain would wander throughout the world, holding on to their Sephardi identity, but banished from their homeland.
Converts (called conversos/New Christians) rose in stature and wealth in Spain, but were also suspected of not being completely faithful to their new religion. For 500 years, the horrific Spanish Inquisition arrested, tortured and executed any Crypto-Jews or backsliding Christians in Spain and in the New World.
In November 2018, the Women’s Performance Community of Jerusalem [http://wpcjerusalem.wixsite.com/wpcjerusalem ] and OU Israel are bringing to the stage an epic musical, “HIDDEN – The Secret Jews of Spain”. So attached has the cast of “HIDDEN” become to the story of a courageous converso family trying to maintain its faith in the shadow of the Inquisition, the “HIDDEN” family wanted to share the thoughts of our brethren on the eve of Expulsion.
Tisha B’Av 1492.