Tammuz 17 is a fast day, devoted to mourning the breaching of Jerusalem’s walls and the other tragic events that occurred on this day and repenting and rectifying their causes.
We refrain from all food and drink from “daybreak” (about an hour before sunrise, depending on location) until nightfall. Special prayers and Torah readings are added to the day’s services.
The 17th of Tammuz also marks the beginning of The Three Weeks period of mourning which culminates on the 9th of Av, commemorating the conquest of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Holy Temple and the dispersion of the Jewish people.
Weddings and other joyful events are not held during this period; like mourners, we do not cut our hair, and various pleasurable activities are limited or proscribed. (Consult the Shulchan Aruch or a qualified rabbi regarding specific proscriptions).
The Lubavitcher Rebbe urged that the Three Weeks should be a time of increased giving of charity and Torah study (in keeping with the verse (Isaiah 1:27), “Zion shall be redeemed by law, and her returnees by charity”), particularly the study of those portions of Torah that deal with the laws and the deeper significance of the Holy Temple.
In Crown Heights the fast ends 8:58 pm, in Monticello, NY at 9:05 pm. For all other locations worldwide – click here.
For a complete guide of Chabad laws and customs compiled by Rabbi Shmuel Lesches click here. (Times are for Melbourne, Australia.)