Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Weeping for Tammuz

Today is the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, beginning of The Three Weeks, a time to focus on the calamities that befell the Jewish people throughout history between 17 Tammuz and 9 Av - "Tisha b'Av," when the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem occured not once - but twice - on the same day in history.

Some of the things in history that happened on the 17th of Tammuz include:

2006 - Outbreak of the "Second Lebanon War," between Hezbollah and Israel.

Moses Breaks Tablets (1313 BCE) - The Talmud (Taanit 28b) lists five tragic events in Jewish history that occurred on Tammuz 17, on account of which a fast was instituted on this day.

The first of these occured in 1313 BCE, forty days after the Giving of the Torah on Sivan 6. Upon descending Mount Sinai and witnessing Israel's worship of the Golden Calf, Moses smashed the Tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments which he was carrying down from the mountain.

The daily sacrificial offerings (Korban Tamid) in the Holy Temple were discontinued, three weeks before the Babylonians' destruction of the First Temple in 423 BCE.

Jerusalem Walls Breached (69 CE)

The other three national tragedies mourned on Tammuz 17 are connected with the Roman conquest of Jerusalem and their destruction of the Second Temple in the year 69 CE:
--The walls of the besieged city of Jerusalem were breached.
--The Roman general Apostomus burned the Torah and,
--placed an idol in the Holy Temple.
The fighting in Jerusalem continued for three weeks until the 9th of Av, when the Holy Temple was set aflame.
Oh yeah people, it's going to be a long, hot summer.

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