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Jewish Festivals
Fast of Sheva


    Shiva Asar B'Tamuz or also known as The Fast of the Seventeenth of Tamuz. The Seventeenth of Tamuz is the anniversary of a number of tragic events in Jewish history.

    The first the Luchot Ha Brit were broken on this day when Moshe came down from Mount Sinai and found the Jews worshipping the golden calf.

    The Second the Tamid sacrifice was discontinued on this day shortly before the destruction of the first Beit HaMikdash because Jerusalem was under a state of siege and they were unable to get the necessary sheep.

    The Third Jerusalem's city walls were penetrated by the Romans before the destruction of the second Beit HaMikdash.

    The Fourth an idol was erected in the Beit HaMikdash on this day.

    The Fifth the Torah was burnt on this day by Apustemus, one of the Greek oppressors.

    In memory of these events Jews are required to fast on this day to inspire them to repent. The fast begins at the break of dawn and ends at nightfall.

    During this time Jews neither eat nor drink any food whatsoever, not even water. Even though Jews are, strictly speaking, permitted to bathe on this fast day the custom is not to bathe on Shiva Asar BeTamuz.

    It is important to recognize that the primary idea behind a fast is to meditate on the fact that these sufferings came upon us because the sins of our ancestors, sin which Jews continue to commit, and that Jews must repent. Someone who fasts but spends the day in frivolous activity has completely missed the point.

    This fast begins a three-week period of mourning, and commemorates the day the Babylonian Empire made the first breach in the wall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E., one of five calamities to befall the Jewish people on this day.


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