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Rabbi Eliezer says, “Based on the verse, ‘These are the generations (or offspring) of heaven and earth when they were created’ (Gen 2) we can infer that everything that is of the heavens, such as the sun, moon, and starts, were created from the heavens, and everything that is of the earth was created from the earth.”

But the Sages say, “Everything that is of the land, and everything that is of the heavens, was created from Zion, as the verse states, ‘From Zion, the perfection of beauty’ (Ps. 50:1) meaning, the beauty of the entire world is from Zion.”

Yoma Chapter 5


29 June in History

In 1942, A 13-year-old girl in Amsterdam who would gain fame as Anne Frank wrote in the diary which she had received as a birthday present only eight days before, “I want to write, but, more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.”

17 Tammuz in History

The Talmud (Taanit 28b) identifies five tragic events that happen on the 17th of Tammuz:

In 1313 BCE:
Moses descended from Mt. Sinai and saw a portion of the Jewish people serving the Golden Calf. He then smashed the Tablets which had the Ten Commandments.

In 423 BCE:
The daily sacrificial offerings (Korban Tamid) in the Holy Temple were discontinued, three weeks before the Babylonians’ destruction of the First Temple in 423 BCE

In 69 CE:
–The walls of the besieged city of Jerusalem were breached.

–The Roman general Apostomus burned the Torah and,

–placed an idol in the Holy Temple.

The fighting in Jerusalem continued for three weeks until the 9th of Av, when the Holy Temple was set aflame.

It is for these reasons that the 17th of Tammuz is observed as a fast day, dedicated to praying and repentance.

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June 2010