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Zeidy Zakon: Tammuz in Eretz Yisrael

Rabbi Nachman and Miriam Zakon

The walls around Yerushalayim were destroyed in Chodesh Tammuz, all those years ago. Today we’re going to visit the famous gates in the rebuilt walls of Yerushalayim. Okay, let’s pack up the jeep. Bubby Zakon’s famous chocolate chip cookies? Check. Healthy nosh? Dates and figs, the fruits Eretz Yisrael is famous for? Check. Three six packs of water. Zeidy, isn't that a bit much? Kinderlach, in Tammuz, Eretz Yisrael is very hot and dry. When we are on a tiyul and out in the sun, we need a lot of

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

While we are driving, let’s talk about what happened on the 17th day of Tammuz. Moishy, do you remember what happened then?

The Romans broke through the city walls.

Correct! Give that boy a cookie.

The ancient city of Yerushalayim was surrounded by walls, which were destroyed before the Churban. Many years later, in the 1500s, Sultan Suleiman, the ruler of Yerushalayim at that time, had the walls rebuilt. These are the stone walls you are looking at now.

The walls took fifteen years to rebuild and they surround the entire Old City. You can walk on top of them, but they are over three miles long!

You enter the city through gates built into the wall. There are eleven gates, but only seven are open.

We’re here at Shaar Yaffo (a “shaar” is a gate in Hebrew), the gate where Yidden come through to walk to the Kosel. On Yamim Tovim literally tens of thousands of Jews pass through here. Look on the right side of the gate? What do you see?

Zeidy, it’s a mezuzah!

That’s right. In Shema we say we must write a mezuzah “for your house and your gates,” so there is a large mezuzah here on Shaar Yaffo.

People walk in through Shaar Yaffo, but cars and buses follow a road nearby. They pass into the Old City through a huge hole in the city wall. Let me tell you how the wall was broken there…

 

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