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Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  ( 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.


In this week’s blog, we’re looking at hate from several different perspectives. Firstly, we consider hate through the lens of the upcoming Fast of the 17th of Tammuz, in which baseless hatred was one of several factors that led to the destruction of both Holy Temples and the consequent exile from the Jewish homeland. Secondly, we’re looking at Shmuley Boteach’s description of “kosher hate” and “unkosher hate.” Thirdly, we’ll investigate how a culture that indoctrinates children with hate has caused a lack of progress in the peace process. 

1. The Fast of the 17th of Tammuz

This coming Sunday, June 27th, we will be observing the dawn to dark fast (4:38am – 9:15pm) known as the Fast of 17th of Tammuz. This marks the beginning of a three-week national period of mourning for the destruction of both Holy Temples and the exile of our ancestors from our 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, later leading up to 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.

To create an atmosphere that is conducive to reflection and introspection, we customarily refrain for three weeks (beginning Sunday, June 27th) from weddings, parties, dancing, listening to lively music, haircuts/shaving and reciting the shehechiyanu blessing.

2. Jews are the only minority that tolerates the intolerable,” by Shmuley Boteach, originally published in the Jerusalem Post 

3. “The Palestinian culture of violence,” by Mitchell Bard, originally published in the Jewish News Syndicate