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Chapter 121:3 and 4
Laws of Public Fast Days

3. [Another public fast day] is the tenth of Teves, the day Nebuchadnezzar (King of Babylon) camped around Jerusalem and began its siege. Ultimately, this led to the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash (Temple).

4. The seventeenth of Tammuz [is also a public fast day]; five catastrophes happened on this date:

a) The tablets [of the Law] were broken (1) when Moses descended from Mount [Sinai], as related in the Torah [Exodus 32:19].

b) The "Korban Tomid" ("daily sacrifice") ceased to be offered [in the first Beit Hamikdash, as a result of the siege by Nebuchadnezzar's army].

c) [The walls surrounding] the city of Jerusalem were breached before the destruction of the Second Temple. Before the destruction of the First Temple, [the walls] were breached on the ninth of the month, as [Jeremiah 52:6-7] states: "In the fourth month, on the ninth of the month, the famine became very severe...and the city was breached." However, before the destruction of the Second Temple, [the walls] were breached on the seventeenth of the month, and that day became a public fast, as opposed to the ninth, because] the destruction of the Second Temple affected us more severely (2). .

(Furthermore, the Jerusalem Talmud relates that, before the destruction of the First Temple as well, it was on the seventeenth of Tammuz that the city's walls were destroyed)

d) The wicked general, Apostumus, burned a Torah scroll.

e) An idol was set up in the Temple Sanctuary by a group of evil Jews. This led to the Temple's destruction and our exile.

FOOTNOTES:

(1) That is, the two stone tablets ("luchos") upon which the Ten Commandments were written; when Moses descended from Mt Sinai, and saw the Jews dancing around the Golden Calf, he shattered the Tablets on the ground.

(2) In the sense that we are still suffering in the exile created by the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash.

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