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Happy 17th of Tammuz?

By: Other

The prophecy in Zecharyah 8 assures us that our fast-days will one day turn into days of happiness and rejoicing.  We would have expected them to become, if anything, just regular days; why should they become like chagim?


The Mishnah in Ta’anit lists five events that happened on the 17th of Tammuz for which we fast.  At first glance, it seems that while they all happened to Am Yisrael on this specific date, there is no real connection between them. But a closer look reveals a central idea that connects them all.


One of the most important principles in the Torah is borders – the possibility ofseparating things and the need to take notice of the different and separated . The 17th of Tammuz was the beginning of the corruption of borders, the breakdown of the borders.


What were the five events?  First and foremost was the breakthrough of the walls of Jerusalem, the wall being the separation of what is inside from what is outside.  Next were the breaking of the Luchot (Tablets) and the burning of the Torah, events which express the inability of the Torah to exist in this world outside of some kind of physical entity (scroll or tablets).  The cancelling of theKorban Tamid (Daily Sacrifice) reflects the shattering of the entire system of sacrifices.  Finally, the placing of an idol in the Mikdash, opposite the Keruvim that reveal the state of the connection of Hashem to Am Yisrael, represents a breaking of that connection.


The connection between all of these events is the key to understanding the prophecy of Zecharyah on the changing of the days of mourning to the days of happiness and rejoicing.  Each day has a special character; each day is not just a day that comes and is gone forever, but is instead a character that appears every single year, time and again.  The 17th of Tammuz is a day which is “gifted” with a potential for breakthroughs – either negative ones, such as breaking through borders which should never be broken, or breaking of borders which limit us and hold us back, which can be positive.  The ability to take the Torah out of its existing confined borders and to establish it in all the worlds, the breaking through of the framework in order to use it for every area of our lives, is our real breakthrough that will bring the 17th of Tammuz to change from a day of mourning to a day of happiness! – Amen  




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