Get the best of Chabad.org content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!
ב"ה
To view Shabbat Times click here to set your location

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
To view Halachic Times click here to set your location
Fast of Tammuz 17
Jewish History

The Talmud (Taanit 28b) lists five tragic events in Jewish history that occurred on Tammuz 17, on account of which a fast was instituted on this day (see Laws & Customs").

The first of these occurred in 1313 BCE, forty days after the Giving of the Torah on Sivan 6. Upon descending Mount Sinai and witnessing Israel's worship of the Golden Calf (see "Today in Jewish History" for yesterday, Tammuz 16), Moses smashed the Tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments which he was carrying down from the mountain.

(for the other four tragedies of Tammuz 17, see below)

Links:
Broken & Whole
The 120-Day Version of the Human Story
Moses Breaks the Tablets

The daily sacrificial offerings (Korban Tamid) in the Holy Temple were discontinued, three weeks before the Babylonians' destruction of the First Temple in 423 BCE.

The other three national tragedies mourned on Tammuz 17 are connected with the Roman conquest of Jerusalem and their destruction of the Second Temple in the year 69 CE:

--The walls of the besieged city of Jerusalem were breached.

--The Roman general Apostomus burned the Torah and,

--placed an idol in the Holy Temple.

The fighting in Jerusalem continued for three weeks until the 9th of Av, when the Holy Temple was set aflame.

Links:
The Destruction of the Holy Temple
The Three Weeks

Laws and Customs

Tammuz 17 is a fast day, devoted to mourning the breaching of Jerusalem's walls and the other tragic events that occurred on this day (see "Today in Jewish History") and repenting and rectifying their causes. 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.

Link: Halachic times for Tammuz 17

The 17th of Tammuz also marks the beginning of The Three Weeks period of mourning which culminates on the 9th of Av, commemorating 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. (Consult the Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch) or a qualified rabbi regarding specific proscriptions).

The Lubavitcher Rebbe urged that the Three Weeks should be a time of increased giving of charity and Torah study (in keeping with the verse (Isaiah 1:27), "Zion shall be redeemed by law, and her returnees by charity"), particularly the study of those portions of Torah that deal with the laws and the deeper significance of the Holy Temple.

Links:
TheThreeWeeks.com
Some Laws and Customs of the Three Weeks
About Holy Temple

Daily Thought

How is it possible that any of the mitzvahs we do make sense to us?

They are, after all, connection points to G-d Himself. Before Him, the vast neural networks of our human brains and a cheap pocket calculator of the 70s are on equal standing.

God is beyond infinite. He is, as Maimonides writes, absolute existence. If in the realm of infinity, simple arithmetic breaks down, how can we apply human logic in the face of the Absolute?

And yet, not only do we attribute reasons to these mitzvahs—often reasons that work nicely within the context of our meat-based neurological wiring —we insist on deriving one rule from another, comparing and contrasting one mitzvah to the next, and forging ahead with applications based on such calculations.

As the Giver of these mitzvahs instructed us to do, when He said, “If you have a question, take it to your sages and follow their instructions to the detail.” (Deut. 17:8-11)

It could only be that we are connecting to a G-d who transcends all opposites.

Finite and infinite, reason and beyond reason, creation and Creator—for Him, all these are a singularity, blending in perfect harmony at their origin.

These mitzvahs are so divine, so unlimited, and so true, they can even embed themselves neatly within the neural network of a living organism on Planet Earth.

Maamar Margela B'fuma D'Rava 5746.