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9-18 Tammuz 5775
26 June-5 July '15

Attributes of the month of Tammuz: Ruling permutation of the letters of HAVAYAH: KEH VAV KEH YOD, contained in the concluding Hebrew letters of zeH einenU shoveH lI, "...this is not of worth to me..." (Esther 5:13). The month's corresponding letter is: CHET; Human attribute: VISION; Body Part: RIGHT HAND; Tribe: REUVEN; Constellation: SARTAN (Cancer, the Crab).

Friday 26 June / 9 Tammuz
On this day at the end of the First Temple period the wall of Jerusalem was breached by Nebuchadnezzar's armies, signalling the beginning of the destruction of the city and the Temple, and King Tzedekiah and his ministers tried to escape through a secret tunnel to Jericho but were captured.

Friday night-Saturday 26-27 June / 10 Tammuz
Shabbat CHUKAT
Torah Reading: Numbers 19:1-22:1 giving the laws of the Red Heiffer and recounting the closing stages of the Children of Israel's journey to their Land and their miraculous conquests of the Emorites and Bashan. The Haftara tells the story of Jephthah (Yiftach), Judges 11:1-33.

Wednesday night-Thursday 1-2 July / 15 Tammuz
Yahrzeit of outstanding tzaddik, scholar and kabbalist Rabbi Chaim ben Atar (1696-1743), known as the Ohr HaChayim ("Light of Life") after the title of his commentary on the Torah. Thousands visit his Jerusalem gravesite on the lower slope of Mount of Olives directly opposite the eastern face of Temple Mount, with the assurance that their prayers will not go unanswered.

Friday night-Saturday 3-4 July / 17 Tammuz
Shabbat Parshat BALAK
Torah reading BALAK
Numbers 22:2-25:9 telling the story of Bilaam's abortive efforts to curse Israel at the behest of Balak king of Moab; Haftara: Micah 5:6-6:8.
Today is the 17th Tammuz, which is normally a public fast day commemorating the breach of the walls of Jerusalem and other tragedies. However since this year it falls on Shabbat, the fast is deferred until tomorrow, since it is inappropriate to display any signs of mourning on the Shabbat. The only fast-day that is observed even on Shabbat is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Sunday 5 July / 18 Tammuz
FAST OF SHIVA 'ASAR BE-TAMMUZ (deferred)
Today is the fast of Shiva Asar (=17) B'Tammuz commemorating the sin of the golden calf and the breach of the walls of Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period as well as other tragedies. The fast begins at dawn on Sunday morning and lasts until nightfall.

Today's fast initiates the period of semi-mourning known as The Three Weeks or Bein HaMetzarim ("between the straits"), culminating in Tisha Be'Av, the fast of the Ninth of Av, which falls this year on Saturday night-Sunday 10 Av/26 July, commemorating the destruction of the two Temples. During these three weeks of semi-mourning it is customary not to celebrate weddings, listen to music or cut one's hair. Other stringencies are added from the beginning of the month of Av (17 July).
It is proper to devote special times, particularly at midday and midnight, to mourn the destruction of the Temple. It is also appropriate to study the laws of the Temple as set forth in Ezekiel chapters 40 onwards, the Mishnaic Tractate Middot and Hilchot Beit HaBechirah (Laws of the Temple) in Rambam's Mishneh Torah code.

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Azamra means "I will sing" (Psalms 146:2)

"And the way to sing the song of joy is by seeking the good in all people, especially in ourselves. Each good point is one more note in the song of life!"

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov