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    Fast & slow – 17 Tammuz

    Destruction of the Temple, Francesco Hayez, 1867

    This week is the Fast of 17 Tammuz, marking the breach in the walls that led to the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem.

    It opens the Three Weeks of mourning during which we avoid weddings and other celebrations.

    Why lament for the destruction of the Sanctuary three weeks before the tragedy actually occurred?

    Because when you see the inexorable catastrophe unfolding you already feel the pain.

    It’s like watching a person slowly die. The family are already feeling bereaved even though a miracle can always happen and the patient can have a new lease of life, for a while at least.

    Another explanation is that though it all happened a very long time ago, we cannot pretend to be unaware that doom was approaching. We know the story; we feel again the anxiety and agony of the approaching tragedy.

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