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Jewish Holidays

Haftarah Helper: Fast Days

Download PDF Isaiah 55:6–56:8 Ashkenazim read this Haftarah at Mincha on all fast days except for Yom Kippur.  (Sepharadim generally recite no Haftarah on these days.) This is done to encourage the giving of charity, which the Talmud deems the most important aspect of fast days: Tosafot on Megillah 21a-  s.v. “One who Reads” תוספות […]

The Four Fasts, Then & Now

November 30, 2017, by

The Gemara in Maseches Rosh HaShana (18b) says that there are three categories regarding the four fasts (of Asarah b’Teves, Shiva Asar b’Tamuz, Tisha b’Av, and Tzom Gedaliah) : 1) when there is gezeiras malchus (persecution) all four fasts are obligatory as fasts, 2) when there is no gezeiras malchus but also not shalom only Tisha b’Av is obligatory, and the rest are optional, 3) when there is shalom all four are Yamim Tovim.  […]

The Four Fast Days and Sefer Zechariah

October 3, 2017, by

Why do we fast on Tisha B’av?  The primary answer, of course, is to remember the destruction of the Bet HaMikdash and Yerushalayim. Yet, according to the Navi Zechariah, not only Tisha B’av, but all four of the fast days (in which we remember Yerushalayim) will one day take on an added dimension. In the […]

The Broken Tablets’ Eternal Message

June 29, 2015, by

The Talmud records that the first tragedy that occurred on the 17th of Tammuz was the breaking of the tablets at Mt. Sinai. This event sets the tone for a day that would tragically be replete with other traumatic events suffered by the Jewish people throughout their history. The following teaching delves into the meaning […]