17th of Tamuz

Today is the fast of the 17th of Tamuz, the day in which the walls of Jerusalem were breached and the beginning of the mourning period known as "Between the Straits". Here are a few words written by Rabbi Menachem Brod:

"We have returned to our good, blossoming Land, we have returned to Yerushalaim, so what is there to mourn about anymore? Well, the concept of Galut (exile) is not related merely to the question of whether Am Israel lives in Morocco, in America or in Israel. The question is HOW these People lives. We have made a huge progress in this generation, but inner enslavement can take place even when we sit in Yerushalaim, because Galut in its essence is an inner matter. Galut is a situation that is incorrect, that is not fixed. The mere fact that we imagine that what we have today is enough is in itself a part of Galut. We have grown accustomed to it. Galut causes most of the human potential to be channeled into negative, rather than positive, channels; it brings about so much violence, corruption, distance of hearts and baseless hatred. It makes Torah seem like a burden instead of the most natural and pleasant thing that it is. It made us forget what our real essence is, and what is the great destiny we are yet to reach. The days of Between the Straits that start today are a reminder sign, an annual opportunity for soul searching and for assessing what we have already achieved and what we still have to accomplish."

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