11-17 Tammuz 5779
July 14-20, '19
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).
Wednesday night-Thursday July 17-18 / 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.
In Israel the Torah reading is Pinchas Numbers 25:10-30:1.
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 21 July / 18 Tammuz
FAST OF SHIVA 'ASAR BE-TAMMUZ (deferred)
Today we observes the fast of Shiva Asar (=17) B'Tammuz (deferred from yesterday) 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 / August 10-11, 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 (August 2).
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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