Seventeenth of Tammuz

Seventeenth of Tammuz

Infobox Holiday
holiday_name = Seventeenth of Tammuz
official_name = Hebrew: שבעה עשר בתמוז
observedby = Jews in Judaism
date = 17th day of Tammuz
observances = Fasting, prayer
type = Jewish
significance = Date when the walls of Jerusalem were breached
relatedto = The fasts of the Tenth of Tevet and Tisha B'Av, the Three Weeks & the Nine Days
date2006 = dawn, July 13 – sunset, July 13
date2007 = dawn, July 3 – sunset, July 3
date2008 = dawn, July 20 – sunset, July 20

The Seventeenth of Tammuz (Hebrew: שבעה עשר בתמוז, "Shiv'ah Asar b'Tammuz") is a minor Jewish fast day commemorating the breach of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the Second Temple. [ [ Minor Fasts ] ] It falls on the seventeenth day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz and marks the beginning of the three-week mourning period leading up to Tisha B'Av. [ [ The Three Weeks: 17 Tammuz - 9 Av Mourning the Destruction - ] ]


The 17th of Tammuz is mentioned in the Zechariah as "the fast of the fourth month" [ 8:19] . According to the Mishnah ("Taanit" 4:6) five calamities befell the Jewish people on this day:
# Moses broke the two tablets of stone on Mount Sinai;
# The daily "tamid" offering ceased to be brought;
# The walls of Jerusalem were breached (proceeding to the destruction of the Temple);
# Prior to Bar Kokhba's revolt, Roman military leader Apostomus burned a Torah scroll;
# An idol was erected in the Temple. The Babylonian Talmud ("Taanit" 28b) places the second and fifth tragedies in the First Temple, while dating the third tragedy (breach of Jerusalem) to the Second Temple period. Jerusalem of the First Temple, on the other hand, was breached on the 9th of Tammuz (cf. Jeremiah 52.6-7).


As a minor fast day, fasting lasts from dawn to dusk. Although it is customary among Ashkenazim to refrain from listening to music, public entertainment, and haircuts on this day, this is only because it part of the Three Weeks (see below, "Bein haMetzarim"); other deprivations applicable to the major fasts (i.e. Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av) do not apply.

A Torah reading, a haftarah, a special prayer in the Amidah (the Aneinu), and Avinu Malkenu are added at the morning Shacharit and afternoon Mincha services. Many congregations read the haftarah only at Mincha. Some congregations also recite during Shacharit a series of Selichot (special penitential prayers) reflecting the themes of the day.

Cycle of Fasts

The 17th of Tammuz is the second of the four fasts commemorating the destruction of the Temple and the Jewish exile. It is preceded seven months by the fast of the Tenth of Tevet and arrives three weeks prior to the full-day fast of the Ninth of Av. The last of the four fasts is the Fast of Gedalia, which is observed on the third or fourth day of Tishri.

"Bein haMetzarim"

The three weeks beginning with the 17th of Tammuz and ending with the 9th of Av are known as "Bein haMetzarim" ("between the straits," i.e. between the days of distress) or the Three Weeks. Some customs of mourning, which commemorate the destruction of Jerusalem, are observed from the start of the Three Weeks. [ [ 17th of Tammuz - Tisha B'Av & the Three Weeks ] ]

The oldest extant reference to these days as "Bein haMetzarim" - which is also the first source for a special status of the Three Weeks - is found in Eikhah Rabbati 1.29 (Lamentations Rabbah, fourth century CE?). This midrash glosses Lamentations 1.3, "All [Zion's] pursuers overtook her between the straits."


External links

Jewish and Israeli holidays

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