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    Fasting on 17 Tammuz – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Now that we have a State of Israel do we still need to fast on 17 Tammuz?

    The destruction of Jerusalem, by David Roberts, 1850

    A. This is one of the four fasts commemorating the destruction of the Temple. 17 Tammuz marks the enemy’s breach in the walls of Jerusalem.

    Zechariah said (8:18-19) that these fasts would eventually turn into occasions of joy. He said that in an age of peace and penitence, the fasts would no longer be necessary.

    Most rabbinic authorities interpret “peace” in this context as having a rebuilt Temple.

    Rashi has a different view, that “peace” means that “the hand of the gentiles is not strong against Israel”, but most authorities are against him.

    This certainly means that Tishah B’Av should be maintained, and rabbinic thinking is not ready to rule that the other three fasts can be allowed to lapse.

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