The 17th of Tammuz: A Fast to Begin Three Weeks of Mourning

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Today was the 17th day of the Jewish lunar month of Tammuz and we observed it as a fast day.   On this Jewish date, we neither eat nor drink from dawn until nightfall. It is the beginning of three weeks of mourning that ends in the saddest day on the Jewish calendar,  Tisha B’Av.   During these three weeks of mourning, we do not schedule weddings,  listen to music or  cut our hair.  This sad day known by its Hebrew name of Shiva Assar B’Tammuz (17th day of Tammuz) commemorates the following tragedies in Jewish history that occurred on this Hebrew date:

  1. Moshe (Moses) broke the stone tablets that were inscribed with the ten commandments as he descended from Mount Sinai and witnessed his nation worshiping the Golden Calf.
  2. In 423 BCE, the priests in the First Temple discontinued the Tamid, the daily sacrificial offering, due to…

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