Halacha for Tuesday 17 Tammuz 5777 July 11 2017

The Seventeenth of Tammuz

Today is the public fast day of the Seventeenth of Tammuz.

The Fast of the Seventeenth of Tammuz
The prophet Zechariah (8, 19) states: “So says Hashem, G-d of Hosts: The fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth fast days shall be for the house of Yehuda for gladness, joy, and good times; [only] love of truth and peace.” Our Sages (Rosh Hashanah 18b) explain that the “fourth fast day” refers to the Seventeenth of Tammuz, for Tammuz is the fourth month when counting from Nissan (Nissan is the first of the months of the year according to our holy Torah). The “fifth fast day” refers to the fast of the Ninth of Av, for Av is the fifth month when counting from Nissan. The “seventh fast day” refers to the Fast of Gedalia which falls out on the third of Tishrei, which is the seventh month from Nissan. The “tenth fast day” refers to the fast of the Tenth of Tevet, which is the tenth month from Nissan.

The Essence of the Fast
The Rambam writes that the entire Jewish nation must fast on these days because of the tragedies that befell them on these days. This will serve to awaken their hearts and open the pathways to repentance. This will also serve as a reminder of our evil deeds and the deeds of our ancestors that resembled our current deeds which eventually caused these tragedies to befall them and us. Upon remembering these things, we shall mend our ways, as the verse states, “And they shall confess their sins and the sins of their fathers.”

What Occurred on the Seventeenth of Tammuz?
The following five terrible events occurred on the Seventeenth of Tammuz: The two tablets bearing the Ten Commandments were broken, the daily Tamid offering brought in the Bet Hamikdash ceased, our enemies breached the walls of Jerusalem in the Second Temple era, the wicked Apostemos burnt the Torah, and an idol was erected in the sanctuary of the Bet Hamikdash.

Those Obligated to Observe This Fast
Everyone is obligated to fast on the Seventeenth of Tammuz. Nevertheless, pregnant and nursing women are exempt from fasting on this day. An elderly person whose health may be affected as a result of the fast (as instructed by a doctor) should not fast. Similarly, a woman who is within two years of giving birth and feels especially weak as a result of the fast need not fast. Any person whose health does not allow him to fast should consult a competent halachic authority regarding how to proceed. If the fast poses a possible danger to one’s life, one should certainly not fast. One should consult with a prominent halachic authority so that the latter can guide the individual how to act with regards to Tisha Be’av, which is a more stringent fast day than others.

Children, i.e. boys under the age of thirteen and girls under the age of twelve, should not fast at all on this day, even for several hours. Only young men and women of Bar/Bat Mitzvah age should fast on this day. The same applies to the public fast days of the Fast of Gedalya, the Tenth of Tevet, and the Fast of Esther. (Chazon Ovadia)

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Holiday of Shavuot- Teachings of Kindness

The Torah introduces the momentous event of the giving of the Torah to the Jewish nation with the verse (Shemot 19), “On the third month from when the children of Israel left Egypt, on this day they arrived at the Sinai desert.” Our Sages in the Pesikta ask: Why is it that the Torah w......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by strik......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Cooking on Yom Tov

In the previous Halachot we have explained that although Shabbat and Yom Tov are equal in their prohibition to perform work on them and it is therefore a Torah prohibition to drive a car on Yom Tov, nevertheless, certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking and frying, are permitt......

Read Halacha

The Holiday of Shavuot- Coronavirus

The holiday of Shavuot will be celebrated, G-d willing, at the conclusion of the period of the counting of the Omer this coming Friday (beginning from Thursday night), the 6th of Sivan (and outside of Israel on Shabbat, the 7th of Sivan as well). Let us, therefore, begin to discuss some of the perti......

Read Halacha


Reciting Kaddish

Question: What is the significance of reciting Kaddish for a deceased individual? Answer: When an individual departs from this world, his surviving children must make a concerted effort to pray with a Minyan three times a day in order to be able to recite Kaddish for their father or mother. Simil......

Read Halacha

Using an Electric Hotplate (Plata) For Both Meat and Dairy

If one uses an electric hotplate to warm meat pots and the like, it is quite common that some of the meat food inside these pots will sometime fall onto the hotplate thus causing the hotplate to absorb this meat flavor. As such, if one then wishes to place dairy foods onto the hotplate, if one does ......

Read Halacha

An After-Blessing After Drinking Tea or Coffee-An Incident Involving Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l

In the previous Halacha we have discussed the basic laws of reciting an after-blessing after drinking a beverage in that as long as has drunk a Revi’it (approximately 81 cc or 2.8 fluid ounces) of the beverage in one shot (in a continuous manner without interruption between gulps), one recites......

Read Halacha

Question: Must one recite the “Boreh Nefashot Rabbot” blessing after drinking hot tea or coffee?

Answer: We have already discussed on several occasions that after drinking any beverage, one must recite the “Boreh Nefashot” after-blessing. The amount one must drink in order to become obligated to recite this blessing is a Revi’it in one shot, i.e. approximately 81 cc or 2.8 flu......

Read Halacha