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The Fast of Tammuz

07/09/2020 12:33:48 PM

Jul9

Yesterday, we commemorated the17 of Tamuz, a day of public fasting, in memory of tragedies that occurred on that day, resulting in the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

In the time of the Second Temple the Jews rebelled against the Romans and they recovered control of Jerusalem for a few years, defending the city protected by strong walls. These walls were originally built in the days of King Solomon. The people fought with all their might and ingenuity to survive and repel the powerful enemy and they knew that as long as the walls stood, they could be safe.

The Romans, the most powerful world-power at that time, had very advanced military technology. They used catapults with which they threw very heavy rocks  that impacted and broke the stones of the walls. They also used towers through which the soldiers climbed the walls and attacked the Jewish fighters. The Romans attacked with “ram’s heads”, huge logs with an iron ram’s head to knock down the city walls and gates.

On the 17th day of Tamuz one of the walls of Yerushalayim, the fortress of Antonia, built by Herod 40 years ago in honor of the emperor Marc Antony, collapsed, and a breach was opened through which Roman soldiers began to enter the city. This was the beginning of the end of the city of Yerushalayim.
The Jews fought valiantly from within the walls, but as our Sages explained, they were not united but separate.

The day of fasting is meant to remind us that our strength and survival depend on HaShem, and He is with us when we are united. This does not mean that all the Jews of the world should think alike (that is impossible!) but it does mean that we should make maximum effort to accept and tolerate each other and feeling part of the same people and the same family.

Wishing you and your family a peaceful and blessed Shabbat,
Rabbi Suson

Wed, April 14 2021 2 Iyyar 5781