Jewish date: 18 Tammuz 5772 (Parashath Pineḥas).
Today’s holidays: Fast of Tammuz (Judaism), Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of St. Zorak/National Camel Toad Hunting Day (secular) (Church of the SubGenius).
Since today is the Fast of Tammuz, I thought I would take a little time and talk about the meaning of this holiday in the interest of not missing its point. The Fast of Tammuz is the start of the Three Weeks, which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples and the concurrent damage to the Jewish communities. Naturally, this is a season of mourning, with fasts both today and at the end of the Three Weeks. What I want to discuss in particular what goes wrong with these fasts.
The first thing which goes wrong is that some people take the fasting as the whole point of the holiday and go off and do whatever they like otherwise, such as play tourist. This is clearly not mourning and thus missing the point entirely.
The other thing which goes wrong is more subtle. We do the same rituals, year after year, mourning the destruction of the Temples, the latter of which happened in 70 CE. In 1948 (1,878 years later), the State of Israel was founded, and 19 years later, the Old City of Yerushalayim was back in Jewish hands. In all this time the Jewish people have become increasingly concentrated in Israel, definite progress on the Ingathering of the Exiles, and Judaism has undergone a revival. Yet the Temple Mount, the place where YHWH told us to build His Temple, is largely ignored. Rather than push to rebuild the Temple, we let the Muslim Waqf treat the Temple Mount as if it were its own property and constantly desecrate it. Our yearly mourning has become an end in itself, rather than a means. We are afraid to change the status quo—despite it being obvious that our situation has changed radically—and would rather pretend that nothing has changed for us in 1,940 years. This is missing the point of mourning. The point of mourning is to help us deal with a tragedy and move forward with our lives. What we need to be doing is to move on to the Third Temple. We need to start paying attention to the Temple Mount again and reclaim it for Judaism. We need to demand Jewish religious freedom on the Temple Mount. We need to visit the Temple Mount and pray up there, whether or not the Muslims or the police approve. We need to start bringing the Pesaḥ sacrifice again, even if we have to do it under an armed guard. And we need to knock down everything Muslim on the Temple Mount and build the next Temple. We need to move forward and keep the entire Torah that YHWH gave us. Because if we do not, our mourning is simply a pathology, and a large part of lives will never change for the better.