There are six public fast days in the year. One is Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Another is Taanit Esther (the Fast of Esther), connected to the Purim festival. The other four all commemorate an aspect of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples.
Following are the four fast days:Read more...
Yet, a sad note is heralded in our calendar on the seventeenth day of this month. It is the Fast of Shiva Asar B-Tammuz. On this day, the walls surrounding Jerusalem were breached and the fall of this Holy City only became a matter of time. Exactly three weeks later, on the sad day of Tisha B-Av, both Holy Temples were destroyed and many other tragedies befell us.
The story is told that Napoleon once passed a synagogue where he saw the congregants sitting on the ground and offering tearful prayers. “What is the meaning of this?” he asked his attendants.
On a personal note, we try to keep up with the Mishloach Manot. However, when our entire doorstep was filled with these beautiful gifts on Sunday morning, we were simply overwhelmed. The point of this mitzvah is to promote joy and friendship among us. Susan and I can truly state that you have performed this wonderful mitzvah in its deepest sense.
In every respect, it was a Purim not to be forgotten.