Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today's fast: The 17th of Tammuz


"In the fourth month, on the ninth of the month, the famine strengthened in the city and there was no bread for the population. And the city was breached and the soldiers fled, and they departed the city via the gate between the walls by the king's garden, with the Chaldeans surrounding the city, and they traveled via the aravah."

(Yirmiyahu 52:6-7)

"Yirmiyahu spoke regarding the first Beit haMikdash, whereas in the time of the second Beit haMikdash the city was breached on the 17th of Tammuz. A braita corroborates this, saying, 'In the first Beit haMikdash the city was breached on the 9th of Tammuz. In the second, on the 17th of Tammuz.'"

(Talmud, Taanit 28b)

צום קל ומועיל,


  1. In the Yerushalmi (ad loc, vilna 23a), it is treated as an open machloqes.

    R' Tanchum bar Chanilai says that the calendar calculations got messed up.

    RTBC points to Yechezqeil 26:1, where Yechezqeil introduces the nevu'ah as being on "echad lachodesh", but there is not month that would qualify. The prophecy is that Y-m was destroyed, but was received early enough for a courier to reach Tzor on 1 Elul. So somehow Yechezqeil thought he was being told about the churban having happened already on 1 Av.

    R' Avunah Simna gets from "maqel shakeid ani ro'eh" (Yirmiyahu: I see an almond-wood staff) that Bein haMetzrim even for bayis rishon was 21 says long -- the amount of time an almond takes to produce a fruit. According to both the one who says the first churban was on the 9th and the one who says it's on the 17th.

    Leshitaso, you end up with either saying that the dates on bayis rishon were the 9th of Tammuz and Rosh Chodesh Av -- and Yirmiyahu and Yechezqel had working calendars. Or you follow RTBC that says that both made a calendar error due to the confusion of churban bayis, and the 1st time Y-m's walls were breached was also on the 17th and churban bayis rishon was on 9 beAv.

    Rashbi states that R' Aqiva lists the 4 fasts in Zecharia as 17 beTamuz, 9 beAv, 3 Tishrei and 10 Teves. From which I conclude he too holds of the calendar confusion theory, since Zecharia has to be referring to fasts that were established before his day, and thus before churban bayis sheini.

  2. R' Micha-
    Indeed; you might be interested in my article on this, and on Chasam Sofer's approach, here.

  3. The CS's willingness to propose an intentional mangling of the calendar at the beginning of Galus Bavel gives weight to R' Shimon Schwab's idea (hava amina?) that 168 years were removed from the calendar at the end of that galus.

    As for my initial point, a minor backtrack: Given that there is a machloqes in the Y-mi, and only one side in the Bavli, one could argue the 9 beTamuz - 1 Av theory was reconsidered in the centuries between the two Talmuds, and rejected.