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Thursday, Sivan 30, 5781 / June 9, 2021


Happy Rosh Chodesh. Today is the first day Rosh Chodesh Tammuz.


Hallel and Musaf are recited in the morning prayers. We read from the Torah the special Rosh Chodesh reading. Here are a few historical events which took place in the month of Tammuz:


Yaakov's son, Joseph, was born on the first or second of Tammuz.


Tammuz 3: On this day, during the battle of Givon, Yehoshua (Joshua) commanded the sun (and moon) to stop and not set until the battle was won (see Joshua 10).


Tammuz 3:  On this day the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory, leader of Chabad and world Jewry, passed away in the year 1994.


Tammuz 4: On this day Rabeinu (Yaakov) Tam - the famous grandson of Rashi passed away in the year 4931 (1171). Rabeinu Tam was one of the leading scholars and authorities on Jewish law. He differs with his grandfather, Rashi, as to the order in which the four Torah portions are placed in the Tefillin. As a result, after praying the morning service in the Tefillin according to Rashi, many put on a second pair of Tefillin which are made to the specifications of Rabeinu Tam (called Rabeinu Tam's Tefillin). Many Sephardic Jews use very small Tefillin and put on the Rashi and Rebeinu Tam Tefillin together, thus, wearing two Tefillin on the arm and two on their head at the same time.


Tammuz 9: The walls of Jerusalem were breached and the destruction of the First Temple followed. 


Tammuz 16: Moshe's nephew, Chur, was killed when he tried to stop the Jewish people from worshipping the Golden Calf in the desert.


Tammuz 17: On this day, Noah sent out the dove the first time to see if the waters of the Great Flood had receded.  The Torah tells us, "But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot and she returned to the ark..." (Gen. 8). On this day (about 800 years later) Moshe came down Mount Sinai with the first set of Tablets. He broke them when he realized that the people sinned with the Golden Calf.


The 17th of Tammuz is remembered for five tragic episodes: 1) Moshe broke the Tablets when the people of Israel worshipped the Golden Calf.  2) The daily sacrifice in the Holy Temple stopped; 3) The city of Jerusalem was conquered;  4) Apustomos the wicked burned a Torah; 5) An idol was placed in the Holy Temple.


Our sages found a hint to the tragedies of the 17th of Tammuz in the story of Noah and the dove. The dove's not finding a resting place alludes to the trials and tribulations and lack of rest which the Jewish people, who are likened to a dove, experienced on this day many generations later.


May this month of Tammuz be a blessed month of peace for us all.