Tish'a Be'av, 5770
This Tish'a Be'av is the 1,942nd year since the Hurban - the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. The number 1942 is only divisible by 971 and 2, as 971 is a prime number.
Hashem told Avraham:
The words "בשנה האחרת" have the gematria of 971. This tells us that a Mo'ed is 971 years.
The Book of Daniel gives us a time of לְמוֹעֵד מוֹעֲדִים וָחֵצִי, which tells us to multiply 971 x 3.5, which gives us 3398.5. We are currently in the year 5770. 5770 - 3398.5 = 2371.5. 2371 is around the year of the birth of Moshe Rabbeinu, give or take a few years. It is also around the time of הבה נתחכמה לו - when Pharaoh showed us the first recorded case of anti-semitism towards the Jewish people as a nation. Notice that the words that follow לְמוֹעֵד מוֹעֲדִים וָחֵצִי in the Book of Daniel are "וּכְכַלּוֹת נַפֵּץ יַד-עַם-קֹדֶשׁ" - "and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people". This is saying that from the time when anti-semitism began until it ends will be לְמוֹעֵד מוֹעֲדִים וָחֵצִי.
We need to split up the 4 parts of these 3398.5 years. First, comes the full Mo'ed, then the half Mo'ed, followed by the first half of "Mo'adim", and finally the second half of "Mo'adim".
1) The full Mo'ed starts at הבה נתחכמה לו, and ends with the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash. Although the beginning and end of this period were terrible for the Jewish people, a good chunk of the middle of this period was very good.
2) The half Mo'ed starts at Galut Bavel and ends with the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash. Just like the full Mo'ed, the beginning and end of this period were terrible, whereas the middle showed some signs of promise, including the Hashmonaic Kingdom.
3) The Mo'adim were vastly different. There was never a time of national stability - never a time that we had the Beit Hamikdash. The first half of "Mo'adim" went from the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash until the end of the Ge'onic period. With the death of Rav Hai Gaon in 4798, the period of Halachic uniformity had been lost. At this point, the Galut intensified.
4) The period of the Rishonim started the second half of "Mo'adim". The halacha was split into camps based on geographic and philosophic differences. We started with a Rashkebeha"g, but he didn't wield as much halachic power as the Ge'onim of the past. At times, Torah flourished, but we were far from united as a people. Today, we have the land of Israel, which should have theoretically united our nation, but alas, we are still far from united.
Nevertheless, we are at the end of the "Mo'adim" period. How can we be at the end of this period, which signifies the Keitz, and still be a divided nation?
The answer might be that despite our divisions, we do see small glimpses of unity. It almost always comes after tragedy. We saw it for the most part in the prayers against the Disengagement. We saw it after the Merkaz Harav massacre. We saw it for the funeral of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu.
The Chicago Jewish community, and especially the Skokie, IL community has been going through a particularly rough 3 weeks and 9 days period. All kinds of tragedies occurred to young and old, lo aleinu.
My minhag is to read Ha'azinu on Tish'a Be'av in place of Az Yashir. The following verse comes to mind after such tragedies. Devarim 32:25:
In wake of this, the community has come together, unified, to help the bereaved families and friends with psychological counseling and other help.
The gemara in Sanhedrin (98a) says that if you see Tzarot coming like a river, wait for Mashiah. Perhaps, the explanation is that the Tzarot cause the community to be united, and that acts as a Tikkun for our Sin'at Hinam.
We have much reason to cry this Tish'a Be'av. Nevertheless, we do see signs of hope. We hope for the end of our Galut. We hope for the reconstruction of our third and final Beit Hamikdash. We hope that the Mo'adim period is finally over.
May this Tish'a Be'av be turned Miyagon LeSimha. Amen.
Note: the above regarding "Mo'adim" is speculative. This theory may be totally incorrect.