Sunday, July 20, 2008

The 3 Weeks

Today is the 17th of Tamuz, a fast day which opens a 3 week period of mourning for the Beit HaMikdash, culminating on the 9th of Av.

The Mishnah of Masechet Taanit (4:6) recounts what happened on these days:

17th of Tamuz
  • The Luchot were broken (at the time of the sin of the Golden Calf).
  • The Tamid offering ceased to be brought.
  • The walls of Jerusalem were breached.
  • Apastomos burned the Torah.
  • He put up an idol in the Sanctuary.

9th of Av

  • Our forefathers were sentenced to not enter Eretz Yisrael after the Sin of the Spies.
  • The 1st Beit HaMikdash was destroyed.
  • The 2nd Beit HaMikdash was destroyed.
  • Beitar was captured.
  • Jerusalem was plowed.

While they are called 3 weeks, it is really a 22 day period, related to the 22 years that Yosef didn't see his father when he was sold down to Mitzraim (See last paragraph of this blog post).

Regarding the Tamid: If we look at the events of the 9th of Av in the Mishnah, we see that they are all chronological. Such seems not to be the case by the 17th of Tamuz.

It is brought in the Yerushalmi and the Bavli that sefer Yirmiyahu records the 9th of Tamuz as the date in which the walls of Yerushalayim were breached.


  • The Cessation of the Tamid: A Midrash is brought, describing the cessation in the time of the Bayit Sheini.
  • The Breaching of the Walls: In spite of the 9th of Tamuz being the date mentioned in Yirmiyahu, this part of the Mishnah is related only to the time of Bayit Rishon. The contradiction in the dates is attributed to confusion caused by the general turbulance at the time of the Churban. See the full text and commentaries for a fuller understanding.


  • The Cessation of the Tamid: The Bavli doesn't give commentary on this line, saying only that it is a tradition that this event took place on that date.
  • The Breaching of the Walls: Due to the contradiction of dates in Yirmiyahu, the Bavli takes the approach that this part of the Mishnah refers to Bayit Sheini.

So when it comes down to the Mishnah possibly relating to an explicit calculation in Sefer Daniel Chapter 12, nothing clear comes out, possibly to fulfill the words of Gavriel to seal the words until the end time.

It is written in Zecharyah chapter 8 that the fast days that we currently have as commemoration of the Churban will be times of joy and happiness in the future. The expression used, for joy and for happiness (לששון ולשמחה) is equal to the Gematria of my name, so I am familiar with other phrases of that Gematria, namely Shemot 6:2, which hints at equality between the Left and Right.

That is to say, when we reach equality on the Left and Right, these days will indeed be times of joy and happiness for Am Yisrael. May we be zocheh to experience this joy and happiness in our days.

No comments:

Post a Comment