16 Dec

Today the beginning of three weeks of mourning over the destruction of the Holy Temples is marked by the Fast of Tammuz the international Jewish Day of Mourning. The fast day was delayed one day because it is forbidden to fast on the Sabbath except on Yom Kippur when it falls on the Sabbath. The Fast of Tammuz begins before sunrise ending at sundown after the evening prayers. The Sages teach the customs of mourning according to Rambam/Maimonides it  is to “awaken hearts and clear paths to repentance” not to remember hardships suffered in the past. Intention is to spend Three Weeks of Mourning in Teshuva/self introspection committed to improve spiritual deficiencies which brought about these historic and personal tragedies with intent of transforming tragedy in to joy and rebuilding the Temple.


The Fast beginning Three Weeks of Mourning started Saturday with no eating or drinking until sundown. Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath. Judaism forbids fasting on the Sabbath unless the Fast Day is Yom Kippur. The prohibitions for the three weeks of mourning are no weddings, no parties no haircuts or shaving, no swimming, no leather shoes, no sex, no listening to music or wearing new clothes and only eating meat and drinking wine at the Sabbath meals or at a Brit Milah which is the ritual circumcision of a Jewish baby male. Some do not do laundry or wear fresh clothes cleaned during these days. Some reduce business done during these days Americans call the Dog Days of Summer. The Book Of Eicha/Lamentations recalling Jeremiah’s lament over the destruction of Jerusalem and the FirstTemple is read in the synagogue as part of the evening service. Kinot/elegies are read during both the night and day services.  Torah learning is limited to texts relevant to Tisha B’Av and mourning. The books of Lamentations, Job, certain partss of the Talmud including the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza are relevant. Persons on medications take their medications. To share in the mitzvah/positive commandment of the Fast Day liquids are intaken one table spoon at a time. As with all else in life in Judaism, these are the Red Light & Green Lights of Rules knowing that Man will use Choice/Free Will for the path taken, the Amber Light Judaism trusts in. The Haftorahs read on Shabbat during the Three Weeks are from chapters in Isaiah and Jeremiah deal with the Temple’s destruction and the exile of the Jewish people.


The Fast of the 17th of Tammuz on Sunday marks the beginning of Three Weeks of Mourning over the siege on Jerusalem and destruction of the Holy Temples. The days between 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’av are called Bein Hametzarim/ within the straits as per Lamentations 1:3 “All her oppressors have overtaken her within the straits.” During this time DIN/Divine judgment is felt. It is recommended to avoid danger or risk.


The tragedies mourned and reflected over during Three Weeks of Mourning include dates of the destruction of the FirstTemple by the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar authorities cite as being in 586 BCE. A year before the destruction of the FirstTemple, the priests suffering a shortage of sheep were unable to continue the ritual of daily sacrifice. King Menasheh an enemy of Judaism placed an idol in the Temples Holy Sanctuary on this same day. The same day in history a Roman general placed an idol in the exact same spot in the SecondTemple. The Roman general proceeded to burn the sacred of all Jewish books the Torah setting a precedence of burning of Jewish sacred books as humiliation and degradation of the Jewish people. The SecondTemple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Roman Emperor Hadrian crushed the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 CE. The TempleMount was destroyed. Jeruslame was rebuilt as a PaganCity. Moses descended, 1312 BCE, from Mount Sinai for the first time after forty days and forty nights when seeing the Israelites, who accepted the words of the Twelve Spies, sinning in celebrating the Golden Calf idol upon seeing this then Moses broke the first set of the Ten Commandments. The Jewish People were expelled from Spain on this day in 1492 the year ‘Columbus sailed the ocean blue.’ World War One broke out on this day in 1914. The remaining Jews imprisoned in the Warsaw ghetto were deported as part of the final solution in 1492.


A classic Tisha B’av story tells of Napoleon walking in Paris one Tisha B’Av passing a synagogue. Upon hearing the sounds of mourning and crying Napolean asked of his aide “What iss this all about?” The aide explained the Jews were mourning loss of their Temple. “When?” Napoleon asked. The aide answered, “About 1700 years ago.” Napoleon is reported to have said, “Certainly a people which has mourned the loss of their Temple for so long, will merit to see it rebuilt!”


As the expression goes L’SHANA HABAAH B’YERUSHALAYIM HA’BNUAH… To Next Year in the rebuilt Jerusalem

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es’>  ,a>�-hy wonder, hoping Matti’s search plays a positive role inIsrael finding its moral compass in our even more morally challenging times…..


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