17th of Tammuz

Reaching for your morning coffee? Think again! Today is the 17th of Tammuz, a minor fast day.

Today’s fast commemorates the day the Romans breached the walls around Jerusalem, which led to the destruction three weeks later of the Second Temple in 70 C.E

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The ancient rabbis mention other events that they believed occurred on this day, including Moses breaking the tablets of the Ten Commandments, cessation of the daily sacrifices during the Roman siege, the burning of the Torah and erecting of an idol in the Temple before the Maccabean revolt.

Which leads me to a question that we’ve been struggling with here at MJL: Why do the rabbis like to ascribe multiple tragedies to one date?

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