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Sunday, July 17, 2022

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

G‑d appeared to Abraham…but he looked up and saw that there were three men… (Genesis 18:2)

Abraham put aside his encounter with G‑d in order to greet his guests. From this we learn that hosting guests is so great that it takes priority over an encounter with G‑d. (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah)

The three men that Abraham greeted and fed turned out to be angels.

Angels don’t eat or drink. Neither do they need a place to sleep. They only pretended to eat and drink out of respect for Abraham.

If so, what did Abraham accomplish? He served food to beings that never hunger and drinks to beings that never thirst. For this he walked out of a private audience with G‑d Himself?!

Aside from that, how can we learn from his example the greatness of caring for guests when in fact he provided his guests with nothing?

Yet indeed we learn more from this incident than any other.

We learn that the main ingredient of hosting guests is not the food, not the drink, not even the roof over their heads and a comfortable bed.

The crucial ingredient of hosting guests is to show them that you care.

And that, Abraham and Sarah exemplified to perfection.

Likutei Sichot vol. 25, p. 78.