The Fast of Tammuz

July 11, 2014

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, July 11, 2014.

The Fast of Tammuz

Next week, on Tuesday  July 15 it is the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz. Traditionally, this day is a Fast Day. Although dates are confusing, depending on where you read them, this is the date which the Jewish tradition says that the walls were first breached by the sieging forces of the Romans in the year 70, resulting in Jerusalem’s complete destruction three weeks later on the Ninth of the Hebrew month of Av.

Jeremiah’s testimony in his prophetic book also claims that the walls were first breached by the Babylonians during this summer month. This was the beginning of the end for Jerusalem and for the Temple. As a result, this day is a day of fasting and mourning for the Jewish People.  The impact of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem is impossible for us, as modern Jews, to fathom. The center of Jerusalem was the Temple... built by King Solomon nearly 3,000 years ago, and later rebuilt and expanded by King Herod a mere 2,000 years ago. The Temple was considered God’s house and was the most sacred place for Jews worldwide. The very idea that God’s house could be destroyed was inconceivable. The Temple was the center of the religion, and the location for the animal and vegetable sacrifices that were made in God’s name. The destruction of the Temple meant that the Jewish people had to change the way they worshipped. Sacrifices were no longer necessary. Prayer and study became the primary modes of worship.

Francesco Hayez – The Destruction of Jerusalem

Shabbat Shalom