Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

Fast of Shiva Asar B'Tammuz – July 17, 2023

The Fast of Shiva Asar B’Tammuz is held in the Hebrew month of Tammuz (the fourth month). This year, it falls on . It is dedicated to honoring several Jewish tragedies and the commencement of a mourning period called the “Three Weeks”. During this time many Jews traditionally observe certain mourning practices. On day 17 of Tammuz, five tragic events occurred, which we outline here. Moses broke the tablets of the Ten Commandments on seeing the golden calf. Offerings stopped in Jerusalem during the Babylonian siege. Apostomos, a Roman leader, burned a scroll containing the Torah, and idols were added to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Romans breached Jerusalem’s walls after a fierce battle in 69 A.D. The Babylonians, as per the Jerusalem Talmud, also breached the city’s defenses on this day.

History of Fast of Shiva Asar B'Tammuz

The Jewish annual calendar includes many fast days. According to Rabbi Yehuda Lang, it is as if the temple is destroyed for each generation in which it is not rebuilt. The fasting and prayer are to fix the cause of the destruction – their ancestors’ disobedience – and this makes a fast day a day of opportunity. Their desire is for the temple to be rebuilt so that the Messiah can come. This third temple is a passionate ideal for modern Orthodox Jews but is contentious due to the Temple of the Dome which was built by Arab worshipers on the spot where the temple was.

Shiva Asar B’Tammuz is a minor fast day and is not a public holiday. Special prayers are recited. Many Jews start observing mourning practices during the “Three Weeks.” This includes going without haircuts and shaving, music, and even getting married. Many people also avoid participating in risky or harmful activities, as well as traveling.

The fast begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. It is permitted to eat before the fast begins, as long as you manage to do so before sleeping. Those who are sick, pregnant, or breastfeeding should see a rabbi before fasting. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as those who are sick, are expected to observe the fast with caution, abstaining from meat, lavish foods, and hard liquor. Minors who are mature enough to understand the meaning of the observance should be provided just simple foods as a kind of education, even if they are not fasting. In contrast to the two Jewish fast days of Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur, this day allows for cleaning and wearing leather.

Fast of Shiva Asar B'Tammuz timeline

13th Century B.C.
Moses Smashes the Tablets

As Moses witnessed the idolatry of the Israelites, he smashed the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

957 B.C.
Solomon’s Temple

The temple in Jerusalem is completed in 957 B.C.

586 B.C.
Temple Destroyed

The Babylonians destroy the temple and ravage Jerusalem.

515 B.C.
Second Temple

The Temple is rebuilt but is destroyed again in 70 A.D. by the Roman Empire.

50 A.D.
Roman Leader Burns a Torah

Apostomos burns a scroll containing the Torah.

Fast of Shiva Asar B'Tammuz FAQs

Why is Judaism unique?

The Jewish concept of God is particularly significant to the world since it was the Jews who pioneered two new concepts about God: only one God exists and God chooses to act fairly.

What foods are forbidden to Jews?

The primary types that aren’t kosher are listed in the “Bible.” Meat, poultry, fish, various insects, shellfish, and reptiles are all examples. However, there are exceptions, like the type of fish, how the animals providing the meat are treated, food preparation, and so forth.

What impact did Judaism have on Christianity?

Early Christianity, which subsequently evolved into Christianity, is built on the foundation of Jewish Christianity. Christianity began with Jewish eschatological aspirations. It became the worshiping of the deified Jesus following his earthly mission, crucifixion, and followers’ post-crucifixion experiences.

How to Observe Fast of Shiva Asar B'Tammuz

  1. Join the special prayers

    The Fast of Shiva Asar B’Tammuz is a spiritual day in the Jewish faith observed with special prayers. Join Jews in saying a prayer for the souls lost and tragedies suffered on this day.

  2. Join the fast

    Fasting is an integral part of this holiday. Avoid meat, wine, and hard liquor to mark the observance.

  3. Learn more about Jewish history

    The Jewish people have a long, rich – albeit tumultuous – past. Explore the lives of these brave people and how they have survived through endless persecution.

5 Interesting Facts About Judaism

  1. The oldest religion

    Judaism is the earliest monotheistic religion in the world, starting about 4,000 years ago.

  2. The Torah

    Judaism is based on the Torah.

  3. Same difference

    Israelites, Jews, and Hebrews are all the same people.

  4. High count

    There are over 17.4 million Jews across the globe.

  5. Travelers

    Israel is home to merely 43% of the Jewish population worldwide.

Why Fast of Shiva Asar B'Tammuz is Important

  1. Forgiveness

    Fasting is a much-respected religious activity. It prompts the compassion of God to pardon the repentant.

  2. Celebrating Judaism

    The Fast of Shiva is a celebration of the Jewish faith. It celebrates over 4,000 years of bravery and perseverance over adversity.

  3. We learn more about Jewish customs

    This observance is an excellent opportunity to delve a little deeper into the Jewish faith. We get to learn more about Jewish customs and religious practices.

Fast of Shiva Asar B'Tammuz dates

YearDateDay
2023July 17Monday
2024July 17Wednesday
2025July 17Thursday
2026July 17Friday
2027July 17Saturday

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.