This post retells the legend of Napoleon Bonaparte's impressions upon stumbling upon a group of Jews mourning the destruction of the Temple on Tisha B'Av in Paris. Although several different versions of the story have been told over time, with the earliest mention in 1891, the original source remains unknown, as well as its historical accuracy. Either way, it highlights the unique Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, site of the First and Second Temples, and the eternal hope of the Jewish people to rebuild the Temple in this place.
As Napoleon Bonaparte was walking through the streets of Paris one Tisha B'Av, his entourage heard wailing coming from a synagogue. He sent an aide to find out what happened and was told that the Jews were mourning the loss of their Temple.
"How come I wasn't informed? When did this happen? Which Temple?" Napoleon demanded.
The aide responded, "They lost their Temple in Jerusalem on this date 1,700 years ago."
Napoleon stood in silence and finally said, "Certainly a people who has mourned the loss of their Temple for so long will one day see it rebuilt."