The fast of 17 Tammuz commemorates five tragic events that occurred on this date:
1.Moses broke the tablets when he saw the Jewish people worshipping the Golden Calf.
2.During the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, the Jews were forced to cease offering the daily sacrifices due to the lack of sheep. The Jerusalem Talmud maintains that this is also the date when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem on their way to destroying the first Temple.
3.Apostomos burned the holy Torah. Some historians maintain that Apostomos was a general during the Roman occupation of Israel, while others contend that he lived years earlier and was an officer during the Greek reign over the Holy Land.
4.An idol was placed in the Holy Temple. Some say that this too was done by Apostomos, while others say that this was done centuries earlier by the evil King Manasseh of Judea.
5.The walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans, in 69 CE, after a lengthy siege.
The sages explain: “Every generation for which the Temple is not rebuilt, it is as though the Temple was destroyed for that generation.” A fast day is not only a sad day, but an opportune day. It’s a day when we are enabled to fix the cause of that destruction, so that our long exile will be ended and we will find ourselves living in messianic times. May our fast be accepted by the Eternal One.