Tomorrow (Thursday) is the fast of the 17th of Tammuz. According to tradition, this is the day when the wall of Jerusalem was breached by the Romans in 70 CE, three weeks before the destruction of the Second Temple.
(Jeremiah 52:6-7 says that the wall was breached on the 9th of Tammuz, not the 17th, before the destruction of the First Temple. So, the rabbis disagreed on whether the Fast of Tammuz should be observed on the 9th (for the first destruction) or the 17th (for the second), but the 17th won out. Those who observe the “Three Weeks” are fortunate that it’s not the Four Weeks!)
A few fasts ago, as a result of a discussion about fasts in general over at Mah Rabu, I proposed a division of labor between the minor fasts (for American Jews), in which 17 Tammuz is dedicated to Israel, 10 Tevet to the US (or wherever your home is), Tzom Gedaliah to the rest of the world, and Tisha B’Av as the uber-fast that combines all of them.
In that spirit, I propose that 17 Tammuz this year be devoted to reflection about the developing situation in Gaza and Lebanon. Here on Jewschool, we’ve been expressing many opinions about who’s right and who’s wrong, and about what should be done. But I think we can all agree on one point: THIS SUCKS. An appropriate sentiment for a day of mourning.