Yesterday, the 17th of Tammuz, the walls of Jerusalem were breached. Today, almost 2000 years later, we are fasting for this breach to our sacred space.
How relevant is the Fast of Tammuz to Jews today. In the year 5772 we are fortunate enough to have Jerusalem and the rest of Israel as a free Jewish homeland. In about two months, I will get on a plane to make this Land my home, but today, by fasting I am recognizing the insecurity of the Land both then and now.
All life is so fragile, not only for Jews and not only Israel. In a world where we constantly struggle to obtain more and are seldolmly satisfied with what we have it is easy to forget that everything sits in an instable state of here today and gone tomorrow. It takes an illness or another’s loss to make us step back and count our blessings, but I feel the 17th of Tammuz comes to remind us that life is uncertain and unsecure. We can experience loss at any moment (and will in just 3 weeks with Tisha b’Av), so let us take time to appreciate everything we have today.
This past week, I found out where in Israel I will be living for the next year. I was extremely excited and suddenly the fact that I am going to be living in Israel became real. I have been talking and thinking about it for so long, but having the actual location and grant terms in my hands made my heart skip a beat. Immediately, I began to think about how lucky I am that it is written in the stars for me to make Israel my home. I think of the thousands of Jews throughout the centuries who knew Israel was their home but were prevented from living in the land. I think of Moshe, the greatest prophet of all, who also wasn’t able to go into the Promised Land. I count my blessings everyday and now I have a very important one to add, one that can easily be taken for granted. I will try my best to remind myself and be grateful because I am in the minority of the Jewish people throughout history.