in NY City begins at 4:01 a.m. and ends at 8:53 p.m. For
worldwide times on the web go to:
This Sunday, July 20th, is the seventeenth of Tammuz,
which is a fast day that ushers in a three-week mourning
period. When the Babylonians attacked Yerushalayim,
eventually resulting in the destruction of the Temple
and the exile of the Jewish people, the Wall of
Yerushalayim was breached on the seventeenth of Tammuz.
Three weeks later, on the ninth of Av, the Temple was
Everything in Torah is a teaching and a directive both
in the service of Hashem and in our private lives. When
we correct the breach in the wall of Yerushalayim in our
own lives, we cause Hashem to rebuild Yerushalayim. The
word Yerushalayim in Hebrew is a composite of two words:
Yirah, which means fear, and Shalem, which means
complete. Our personal Yerushalayim represents our awe
and fear of G-d. Fear of G-d is not only the fear that
He can punish us. When we realize that our greatest
asset is our bond with Hashem, and that the strength of
that bond is dependent upon keeping his commandments, we
fear damaging that bond.
Wall surrounding Yerushalayim represent the steps we
take to avoid doing negative acts. When we are afraid of
something being damaged, we take steps to protect it.
Our love and fear of G-d dictate that we not only
carefully keep his commandments, but that we also take
steps to prevent mistakes. This is the reason for most
Rabbinical ordinances. Similarly, in our private lives,
the wall of Yerushalayim represents the steps we take to
protect our meaningful relationships. The Seventeenth of
Tammuz is a time when we reexamine our fences, making
sure to fortify that which is truly important.
prophet Yeshaiah (Isaiah) related, “Zion will be
redeemed through justice and her captives through
charity.” Justice in this verse refers to the study of
Torah. In these three weeks while we mourn the
destruction of the Temple and pray fervently for it’s
rebuilding, it is customary to study extra Torah and add
in acts of charity. It is especially desirable to study
the laws of the construction of the Temple.
Interestingly, the number 17 is the equivalent of the
word Tov, which means good. This is because underlying
the destruction are the seeds for an even greater
future. When Moshiach will come, the world will be in a
higher and more perfect state than the time of the
Temple. Way we merit seeing that time now!
and wishing you an easy fast!