Today Tuesday, July 11th, is the fast of the 17th day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz and the beginning of the “Three Weeks”.
Positive commandment instituted by the prophets to fast (not consume any food or drink) on days in which tragedies befell the Jewish People.
Main purpose: to inspire us to repent our negative behaviors. The spiritual failures of the Jewish People in the past were the cause of those tragedies.
Several particular tragedies that occurred on the 17th of Tammuz include: Moshe (Moses) broke the first set of Stone Tablets of the Ten Commandments upon seeing the Jewish People sinning with the golden calf; The walls of the city of Jerusalem were breached after being under siege by the Romans before the destruction of the 2nd Temple.
This year the fast begins Tuesday morning July 11th at 4:21 AM and ends Tuesday night at 8:47 PM
Pregnant or nursing women, and those who are ill do not have to fast, but should not eat gourmet meals.
Those who are fasting may take necessary medications with a small amount of water.
During Morning Service (beginning on page 2 in the Artscroll Prayerbook), after concluding the Leader’s Repetition, turn to page 816, to say Selichos- Prayers of Supplication- followed by Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King) on page 120, followed by a special Torah reading for fast days.
During Afternoon Service (beginning on page 232), in Silent Devotion, add Aneinu- Answer Us (shaded section in middle of page 242), and on the bottom of page 246, don’t say Shalom Rav- Abundant Peace, but instead say the shaded paragraph there Sim Shalom- Establish Peace. Following Leader’s Repetition, add Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King) on page 120, followed by a special Torah reading for fast days.
This year, the 17th of Tammuz is Monday night, July 10th. It begins the “Three Weeks” of mourning the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem (even though the fast doesn’t begin till Tuesday morning). The “Three Weeks” end after the 9th of Av on the afternoon of August 2nd.
During the Three Weeks:
No marriages; Engagements OK; No rejoicing with music and dancing
Custom not to listen to any music -Jewish musician can play for non-Jews for livelihood (before the 9 days)
No “new” fruit eaten or new clothing purchased or worn that would require a “Shehechiyonu” blessing – Shehechiyonu for Pidyon Haben – Redeeming the first born is allowed
Shehechiyonu can be recited on Shabbos
No haircut or shaving – Women can shave legs – Mustache that interferes with eating
Exceptions until the 9 days begin: Mourner after 30 days, One who shaves daily for business purposes, In honor of child’s circumcision
On each of the Shabbatot during the three weeks, read three special Haftorahs – (section from Prophets usually related to portion of the week). These sections all deal with misfortune.