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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Fast of Tammuz 17 (postponed)
Jewish History

Moses destroyed the Golden Calf, and re-ascended Mount Sinai to plead G-d's forgiveness for the Jewish people. (Exodus 32:20; Talmud Taanit 30b. See "Today in Jewish History" for Tammuz 16 and Tammuz 17)

Laws and Customs

Because of the holiness of Shabbat, the fast of Tammuz 17 is this year postponed to today, Tammuz 18. We refrain from all food and drink from "daybreak" (about an hour before sunrise, depending on location) until nightfall. Special prayers and Torah readings are added to the day's services.

The fast day mourns the breaching of Jerusalem's walls and the other tragic events that occurred on Tammuz 17--see "Today in Jewish History" for that date--and repenting and rectifying their causes.

Link: Halachic times for today's fast

During the Three Weeks, from 17th of Tamuz to the 9th of Av, we commemorate the conquest of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Holy Temple and the dispersion of the Jewish people.

Weddings and other joyful events are not held during this period; like mourners, we do not cut our hair, and various pleasurable activities are limited or proscribed. (The particular mourning customs vary from community to community, so consult a competent halachic authority for details.)

Citing the verse (Isaiah 1:27) "Zion shall be redeemed with mishpat [Torah] and its returnees with tzedakah," the Rebbe urged that we increase in Torah study (particularly the study of the laws of the Holy Temple) and charity during this period.

Links:
The Three Weeks

Daily Thought

The last written work of the Rebbe before his stroke centered on the following thought. The Rebbe personally handed a copy to thousands of people. I believe it is a summary of who we are and what we must do:

Self-sacrifice in a land of freedom penetrates to the bone.

I saw men and women who sacrificed all they had to defy the religious persecution of the Bolshevik regime. They came to a land of freedom and comfort—where is their greatness now?

Then there is the child of that land of freedom and comfort, worshipping it, chasing after it—but inside he is crushed by the spiritual void. His inner being does not let him alone, the spark inside that cries, “This is not what I truly want! I don’t want this world! I don’t want any worlds! All I want is Him alone!”

This is the crushing of an olive for its oil. The oil spreads and penetrates every fiber of his being. His every faculty begins to burn. And there shines the source of light that can never be extinguished nor dimmed.

It is the light from which the messianic era is formed.