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Newsletter 07/13/2011

Congregation Beth Shalom

Weekly News and Updates, July 13, 2011

Outdoor Shabbat Services with Rabbi Shainberg, 8:00 p.m., Friday Evening, July 15 (13 Tammuz)

Service will begin at 8:00 p.m. at Beth Shalom on Friday, July 15, 2011.
Rabbi Abe Shainberg from NYC will be joining us for services this week. He was featured last fall on the TM blog discussing how his practice has made him a better Jew. Very inspiring:

Weather and conditions permitting, services will be held in the synagogue garden under the full moon. Please join us. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Shabbat Candle Lighting Times for Fairfield

Shabbat (candle lighting) begins at 8:21 p.m. on Friday, July 15. Shabbat ends (Havdalah begins) Saturday, 9:27 p.m. in Fairfield.


Fast of Tammuz 17 on Tuesday, July 19

The Day Jerusalem’s Walls were Breached — but also an opportune day.

The fast of the 17th of Tammuz, known as Shiva Assar B’Tammuz, is the start of a three week mourning 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.1
  4. An idol was placed in the Holy Temple.2
  5. The walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans, in 69 CE, after a lengthy siege. (Three weeks later, 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 first Temple.

Practically speaking:

  • Healthy adults – bar or bat mitzvah age and older – abstain from eating or drinking between dawn and nightfall. Click here for exact times in your location.
  • Pregnant and nursing women do not fast. Someone who is ill should consult with a rabbi. Even those exempt from fasting, such as ill people or children, shouldn’t indulge in delicacies or sweets.
  • A fast day is an auspicious day, a day when G‑d is accessible, waiting for us to repentIt is permitted to wake up early before the fast begins to grab a bite, provided that prior to going to sleep you had in mind to do so.
  • During the morning prayers we recite selichot (elegies), printed in the back of the prayerbook. The “long Avinu Malkeinu” is recited during the morning and afternoon prayers.
  • The Torah is read during the morning and afternoon prayers. The reading – the same for both morning and afternoon – is Exodus 31:11-14; 34:1-10, which discusses the aftermath of the Golden Calf incident, how Moses successfully interceded on the Israelites’ behalf and attained forgiveness for their sin. After the afternoon Torah reading, the special fast-day Haftorah, Isaiah 55:6–56:8, is read.
  • During the amidah of the afternoon prayer, all those who are fasting add a small section, the aneinu, to the Shema Koleinu blessing.
  • If the 17th of Tammuz falls on Shabbat, the fast is postponed until Sunday. Click here for more about this Shabbat.

Abstaining from food and drink is the external element of a fast day. On a deeper level, a fast day is an auspicious day, a day when G‑d is accessible, waiting for us to repent.

The sages explain: “Every generation for which the Temple is not rebuilt, it is as though the Temple was destroyed for that generation.” A fast day is not only a sad day, but an opportune day. It’s a day when we are empowered to fix the cause of that destruction, so that our long exile will be ended and we will find ourselves living in messianic times, may that be very soon.


In Fairfield, the fast begins at 3:53 a.m. and ends at 9:13 p.m. on Thursday, July 19, 2011.