17th of Tammuz Tzom of Tammuz: The fast of the 17th of Tammuz, known as Shiva Assar B’Tammuz, is the start of a three week mouning period for the destruction of Jerusalem and the two Holy Temples.

The fast actually 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 on Jerusalem, the Jews were forced to cease offering the daily sacrifices due to the lack of cattle.

3. Apustmus burned the Holy Torah.

4. In Melachim II 21:7 King Menashe placed an idol in the Holy Temple.

5. The walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans, in 69 CE, after a lengthy siege.


Three weeks later (Bein haMetzarim, between the straits), after the Jews put up a valiant struggle, the Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple on the 9th of Av. The Jerusalem Talmud maintains that this is also the date when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem on their way to destroying the the first Temple.


Healthy adults and children over thirteen (B’nai Mitzvahs) are required to fast (no eating or drinking) from sunset (the day before) until sunset (the day of). Pregnant and nursing women and others whose health would be adversely affected are exempted from the Jewish holiday fast. Of course if you have any concerns you should consult your Rabbi.  If the 17th of Tammuz should fall on Shabbat, then the fast is delayed until Sunday.