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Monday, Tammuz 19, 5782 / July 18, 2022


Shabbat was the 17th day in the month of Tammuz, which is usually a fast day, known as the fast of, "Shiva Asar B'Tammuz." It is one of the five Rabbinical decreed public fast days observed during the year, associated with the destruction of the Holy Temples.


According to Jewish law one is prohibited to fast on Shabbat (except for Yom Kippur), as a result, the fast was pushed off to Sunday. Thus, yesterday, Sunday, was a fast day.


Q.   What happened on the 17th of Tammuz?


A.  Five tragic events occurred on this day: 1) The First Tablets were broken on this day. After spending 40 days on Mount Sinai, Moshe descended from the mountain with the Two Tablets. Upon seeing the people worshipping the Golden Calf, he broke the Tablets with the Ten Commandments.  


2)  The daily sacrifice was stopped.  When the city of Jerusalem was under siege it became difficult to obtain animals for sacrifices.  On the 17th of Tammuz the "Korban Hatamid" (the continual daily sacrifice), which was offered daily for hundreds of years, came to an end.


3)  The walls of Jerusalem were breached.  On this day, the Romans succeeded in breaching the walls of the Holy city of Jerusalem, which eventually led to the fall of the city.


4)  A Torah was burnt.  Apustmus, captain of the Roman occupation forces, publicly burned the Torah Scroll on the 17th of Tammuz.


5)  An idol was placed in the Beth Hamikdash (Holy Temple) on this day.


With the fast of the 17th of Tammuz begins the "Three Week" period called, "Bein Hamtzarim" ("between the straits").  The three weeks end with Tisha B’Av (9th of Av), the day when the Temples were destroyed.


Weddings are not performed during these three weeks, as we remember and mourn the destruction of the Holy Temples in Jerusalem.  


The destruction of the First Temple was due to the sin of idol worshipping amongst the Jewish people. The destruction of the Second Temple was caused by the sin of, "Sinat Chinam" - unjustified hatred among the Jewish people.  In order to correct this, we are extra careful to treat each other with special care and respect during this time.


It is customary to give additional Tzedakah-charity during this time demonstrating care and consideration for the needs of others. May we merit the coming of Moshiach and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple.  May we merit everlasting peace in Israel.  Amen!