Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, is a day Jews traditionally mourn the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples in Jerusalem.
It's a day of communal mourning – a fast day at the zenith of summer that marks the end point of a progressively more intense three-week mourning period, a focal point of national grief, and a time for contemplating the state of exile... and appreciating air conditioning.
Simon Yisrael Feuerman writes about how his perspective on Tisha B'Av has changed since childhood. As a boy, the holiday confused him, Feuerman writes:
"Surely I wasn’t the only Jewish child to be flummoxed by Tisha B’Av. What exactly were we to do with a grief-filled holiday that fell in the middle of a joyous American summer? Especially a holiday that most American Jews in the 1970s had never heard of—except perhaps as a laugh line in Allan Sherman’s song 'My Zelda': Why did she go and fall in love /I haven’t seen her since last Tisha B’Av."
As Feuerman grew older, he made a discovery: "There were people who seemed secretly to love Tisha B’Av. I noticed that some people, though they may have tried to hide it, were really into all the grief and lamentation."
Maybe that is, after all, the point of Tisha B'Av, Feuerman speculates.