Sunday, June 23, 2013

Three Weeks - an Overview by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

5tjt.   Although the Three Weeks and the other two fasts are a period of mourning and introspection, Zechariah the Navi tells us (Zechariah 8:19) that eventually, the four fasts of Klal Yisroel will be a source of joy and gladness – if we but embark upon the goal of loving both truth and shalom.  These two themes are central to Torah life.  Rabbi Chaninah tells us (Shabbos 55a) that Hashem’s seal is truth.  Shalom is also one of the names of Hashem, in addition to being a central theme of our daily Tefilos.  If we learn to love these ideals – the fasts will be turned around.
The four fasts mentioned in Zechariah are:
  • The fast of the fourth month. [Tamuz - the 17th of it]
  • The fast of the fifth month.          [Av – the 9th of it]
  • The fast of the seventh month. [Tishrei - the 3rd of it]
  • The fast of the tenth month. [Taives – the 10th of it]
Clearly, we are counting these four fasts from the month of Nissan.  Why do we start from Nissan?  Because this is the first month that we became who we are –  a nation.

The exact dates of two of the fasts were not always these dates – they were somewhat modified.  As far as the 17th of Tamuz, originally, in the time of 1st Beis HaMikdash we observed it on the 9th of Tamuz because that is when the city walls were first broken through.  Hundreds of years later, during the time of the 2nd Bais HaMikdash, on the 17th of Tamuz, the enemy breached the walls of Yerushalayim once again.  The date of the Tamuz fast was moved from the 9th to the 17th.   The fast of Tishrei was to be observed on the 3rd because the tragedy had occurred on the second day of Rosh haShana itself, one day earlier, and we do not want to fast then.

Why do we fast on these days? [...]

1 comment :

  1. It appears that before things can get better, we - the Jewish nation - must learn to love each other, and seek truth & peace. Please tell me there is another way to attain nirvana, or are we doomed to remain in the diaspora for all eternity?!?


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