Section: Moadim   Category: The 3 Weeks
Why Do We Fast On Tisha B'Av If It Burned Mostly On The 10th?

On the afternoon of the Tisha B'Av the Romans lit the Bais HaMikdash on fire. It burned that afternoon and the next day the tenth of Av. After the Churban there was a debate if the fast day should be held on the ninth or the tenth of Av. It was decided that the ninth would be the day of Tisha B'Av.

This can be explained with the Medrash Yalkut Shimoni that says that when Hashem wanted to destroy the Bais HaMikdash he needed to remove His Shechina. If the Shechina was present in the Bais HaMikdash no human would be able to destroy it.

The significance of the Bais HaMikdash to us is not the unique architecture, the stones, or the utensils. The Bais HaMikdash is a place where we connect with Hashem. It is the single place on earth where the divine and the mundane meet in the physical world. The whole tragedy of the Churban is that that place no longer exists and that Hashem has gone away from us, taking both spiritual and material bracha with him.

Hashem removed His presence from the Bais HaMikdash before it was destroyed and only after that was the enemy able to ignite it. This is precisely the reason we fast on the 9th and not the 10th because the fast is for the loss of the Shechina which happened on the 9th. The 10th was anti-climactic with the burning of an empty shell that was no longer Hashem's home. 

Moreover it was the first step of the Geula.  It was "Soser Al Minas Livnos"; Just like when you purchase an old delapidated house the first step to rebuilding it is to tear down the old structure.  On the 10th of Av, although excruciatingly painful to see our memories go down in flames, it was a first step towards the rebuilding of the third Bais HaMikdash Bimheira Biyameinu Amen.