Mourning With Hope – As Jews Worldwide Mourn the Destruction of Jerusalem

by Avi Abelow

Meaningful Minute presents an original film starring Rav Shlomo Katz, R’ Eitiel Goldwicht & R’ Yakov Klein.

The film takes places in the old city of Jerusalem as we mourn the 17th of Taamuz.

The fast of the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, known as Shivah Asar B’Tammuz, is the start of a three-week mourning period for the destruction of Jerusalem and the two Holy Temples.

The fast actually commemorates five tragic events that occurred on this date:

  1. The Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem in 69 CE, after a very long siege on Jerusalem. (It was three weeks later that the Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple on the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av.
    The Rabbis of the Jerusalem Talmud also teach that this is the day when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem on their way to destroying the first Temple.
  2. Moses broke the tablets when he saw the Jewish people worshipping the Golden Calf.
  3. The priests in the First Temple stopped offering the daily sacrifice on this day due to the shortage of sheep during the siege and the next year 3184 (586 BCE), the walls of Jerusalem were breached after many months of siege by Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian forces.
  4. In Kings 2 we find that King Menashe, one of the worst of the Jewish kings, had an idol placed in the Holy Sanctuary of the Templeon this date. 
  5. The Talmud, in tractate Taanit, says that in the time of the Roman persecution, a Roman captain Apostomos, also placed an idol in the Temple and publicly burned the Torah – both acts considered open blasphemy and desecration. These acts were then followed by Romam General Titus breaching the walls of Jerusalem

Many other horrible things happened to the Jewish people on this day.
In the year 1391, more than 4,000 Jews were killed in Toledo and Jaen, Spain in 1559 the Jewish Quarter of Prague was burned and looted.

in 1944 The Kovno ghetto was liquidated and in (1970) Libya ordered the confiscation of Jewish property.

With it all, The Mishna in Ta’anit teaches us that this very sad day, the 17th of Tammuz, will be transformed in the messianic era in a day that ”shall be joy to the House of Judah” full of “gladness and cheerful feasts”.

We are anxiously awaiting for that messianic era to turn this day from a fast day into a joyous feast day.

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