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Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  (rabbi@adathisraelsf.org) has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.


The Fast of 17 Tamuz

Next Tuesday, July 15, we will be observing the dawn to dark fast (4:47am - 9:09pm) known as the Fast of 17 Tammuz. This marks the beginning of a 3-week national period of mourning for the destruction of both Holy Temples and the exile of our ancestors from the Jewish homeland. During this time we are meant to reflect on the reasons that caused our exile, such as dysfunctional relationships, insensitivity, self-centeredness, and baseless dislike (or even hatred) of others. Through introspection and a commitment to improve, we have the power to transform tragedy into joy and bring about the coming of the Messianic age.

Five catastrophes occurred in Jewish history on the 17th of Tammuz:

  1. Moses broke the tablets at Mount Sinai in response to the Golden Calf.
  2. The daily offerings were suspended during the first siege of Jerusalem.
  3. Jerusalem's walls were breached, before the destruction of the Temple.
  4. The Roman official Apostamos publicly burned a Torah scroll.
  5. An idolatrous image was placed in the Sanctuary of the Holy Temple.

In order to create an atmosphere that is conducive to reflection and introspection, we customarily refrain for three weeks (as of Tuesday July 15) from weddings, parties, dancing, listening to lively music, haircuts/shaving, and reciting the shehechiyanu blessing.

Due to the additional prayers recited on the 17th of Tammuz, shacharit at Adath Israel will begin at 6:30am and there will be a special mincha/ma’ariv service at 8:00pm.