Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Relationship between the Ninth of Tammuz, the Tamid Offering, and Entebbe - 5736, Gilad Shalit - 5766

In my previous post I note some of the relationships between the Entebbe hostage incident and the current hostage situation involving Gilad Shalit, Shlit"a. I made mention of two gemaras (Pesachim 58 and Yoma 28) that, during their respective daf yomi cycles were both learned on the 9th of Tammuz. Both of these gemaras discuss the Tamid offering brought on erev Pesach. (Just as Pesach is the holiday of freedom, may we see the redemption of Gilad very soon.) The gemara in Pesachim was learned (according to the daf yomi cycle) on the 9th of Tammuz (5736) of the week in which the Entebbe hostages were released, while the gemara in Yoma is being learned today, the ninth of Tammuz, 5766, while the IDF is conducting a major military offensive in Gaza, largely aimed at rescuing Gilad Shalit.

What's fascinating is that both gemaras learned on the 9th of Tammuz discuss the bringing of the daily Tamid offering!

Why is that so fascinating?

For on the 9th of Tammuz the walls of Yerushalayim were breached which led to the cessation of the Tamid offering. The 9th of Tammuz was essentially the beginning of the actual destruction of the Beis HaMikdash for the Babylonians entered the city on that day. (Yirmiyahu: 52; 7) A prophecy in the Book of Zechariah (8; 19) states that four fasts will become days of joy.

"For Rav Chana the son of Bizna, what is the meaning of that which is written: 'So said HaShem, Master of Legions, the fast of the fourth [month] and the fast of the fifth [month] and the fast of the seventh [month] and the fast of the tenth [month] will be for the House of Yehudah for joy and happiness.'? They call it a fast and they call it 'joy and happiness'? At the time when there is peace, it is be for 'joy and happiness'. When there is no peace, it is a fast."

"We learn in a Baraisa: Rabbi Shimon said: 'Four things did Rabbi Akiva expound and I do not expound like him: 1. The fast of the fourth [month] is the ninth of Tammuz on that day the [walls of] the city [of Jerusalem] were split [open], as it says: "On the fourth [month] on the ninth of the month and the famine became strong in the city and there was not bread for the people and the city was split [open]." (Yirmiyahu: 52; 7) Why is it called "the fourth" - the fourth of the months [beginning from the first month, Nissan]." (Rosh HaShanah 18b)

The gemara on Taanis 28b states that the walls of Yerushalayim were breached open on the 9th of Tammuz for the first Beis HaMikdash and the 17th of Tammuz for the second.

Though we do not hold like Rabbi Shimon and fast on the 17th of Tammuz rather than the 9th - it is the ninth (the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem) which led to the cessation of the
Tamid offering (in the First Beis HaMikdash - ostensibly the first time it was stopped). According to the Metzudas David commentary on the verse quoted from Zechariah, when the Mashiach comes these four fast days will turn into days of happiness.

The Parshios and the hostage affairs: It is also interesting that in Israel, the Torah portion the week of the hostage-takings was Chukas, the parsha which discusses the taking of a captive(s) from the Jewish camp and the safe rescue of those/the hostage/s. The current parsha outside Israel in Chukas-Balak - these parshios deal with with the taking of captives and the blessings of Bilaam given to the Jewish People - They are unstoppable with G-d on their side, they utterly destroy their enemies and they will utterly destroy the nation of Amalek in the End of Days, when the Mashiach comes.

May we merit the return of the Tamid offering, the destruction of our enemies (especially Amalek), and the safe return of Gilad Shalit (ben Aviva). Amen!


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