Tammuz, Fast of

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TAMMUZ, FAST OF , communal fast occurring on the 17th of Tammuz, commemorating the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (586 b.c.e.) and Titus (70 c.e.). The Jerusalem Talmud (Ta'an. 4:8, 68c) maintains that both catastrophes occurred on this date, and that Jeremiah's sorrow caused him to err when writing that "the city was broken up" by Nebuchadnezzar on the 9th of Tammuz (Jer. 52:6–7). This, however, is not the view of the Babylonian Talmud (Ta'an. 28b), which accepts Jeremiah's dating as correct, and simply considers the destruction of the Second Temple more important (Sh. Ar., oḤ 549:2). According to the Mishnah (Ta'an. 4:6), four other calamities happened on the 17th of Tammuz: the tablets of the law were broken by Moses; the daily offering ceased in the First Temple; the heathen *Apostomos burned the Torah in the sanctuary, and erected an idol there (but some texts read "an idol was set up," Rashi, Ta'an. ad. loc.).

The Fast of Tammuz is closely linked with that of the 9th of Av. The Midrash commenting on the verse "all her persecutors overtook her between the straits" (Lam. 1:3) says, "these are the days of distress from the 17th of Tammuz to the 9th of Av." These 21 days are known as bein ha-meẓarim ("between the straits") or as the three weeks of mourning. However, the Fast of Tammuz is also traditionally associated with "the fast of the fourth month" mentioned by Zechariah (8:19; tj, Ta'an. 4:8, 68c) which in the messianic era "shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness and cheerful feasts" (see Maim. Yad., Ta'anit, 5:4 and 19). The liturgy for the day is similar to that of the other fast days, i.e., *seliḥot are recited, the Torah is read, and a special insertion is made in the *Amidah.

See *Fasting and Fast Days; *Av, the Ninth of; *Three Weeks.


Ḥ. Pearl, Guide to Minor Festivals and Fasts (1963), 57–60; Eisenstein, Dinim, 394; Y.T. Lewinski, Sefer ha-Mo'adim, 7 (19572), 157–65.