Thursday, July 9, 2009

Draped in black for mourning?

A blue sky (for SkyWatch) dawned this morning, the 17th day of Tamuz on our Hebrew calendar.
Devout Jews around the world fast on this day. Here in Jerusalem this "minor fast day" begins at 4:15 am and ends at 8:13 pm.
All sorts of calamities befell the Jewish people on this date in history. For instance, Moses smashed the twin tablets of the Ten Commandments upon seeing the golden calf.

But Shiv'ah Asar bTamuz also commemorates the First Century breach of the walls of Jerusalem, the first step towards the destruction of the Second Temple on the 9th of Av ( another fast day in three weeks from now).
In this unusual scene, Jerusalem's Old City wall appears to be dressed in black robes of mourning.
But no! Just the opposite. The wall, rebuilt by the Ottoman Turks in 1535-1541, is being patched up and strengthened and beautified. And by whom? The Roman Legion? The Ottomans?
NO! By the ISRAEL Antiquities Authority.

Yes, we are still here, alive and well.
In fact, here you see the happy crowds who came for the Jerusalem Light Festival a few weeks ago, along that same stretch of wall near Jaffa Gate. Full of life.
I do not fast on this day. But I do think about the breakage of Moshe's stone tablets and the breaking of my beloved Jerusalem's walls. And about this, Rachel at her wonderful "Velveteen Rabbi" blog has a good message:
"[If you are fasting today], I hope that your fast is meaningful. May we find a way today to be open to whatever may flow through the places in us which are broken, remembering that our brokenness can be a place where holiness is found."


Jew Wishes said...

The photos are beautiful, Dina. The night shot is stunning.

I don't fast, either, but do reflect.

James said...

Very interesting and the sky looks great in the top photo.

RuneE said...

As you know I'm a non-religious person, but I can recognize good historical reconstruction when I see it.

Cloudia said...

"Yes we are still here!"

AMEN! I wish more people knew ALL the background about Israel and not just the unrelenting propoganda,,,,,,,OY!


Comfort Spiral

Erin said...

wonderful captures and post. always enjoy stopping by.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

I guess you don't say "Happy" day 17 of Tamuz. What does one say to acknowledge the holiday?

Seeing you "blogs I follow" list reminds me that we don't have one. Maybe I can just hop on over and use yours. Those are most of the sites I visit anyway. And, HONORED to be listed!

As always, I learned so much from your post.

Pietro said...

Very informative post with fine images, Dina! I always like your night pictures too.
Thanks for sharing.

Kay said...

Very beautiful photos, Dina with an interesting history.

Regina said...

Nice sky and shots.
Thanks for sharing and the reminder of fasting.

Have a nice week Dina.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Happy to hear the Roman legions of Contemporary Antiquity are hard at work.

Your last paragraph is beautiful. Cut and paste for certain

Vagabonde said...

I am a very secular person but I enjoy learning about any type of history. I have learned a lot reading your blog – it is always so interesting.

Stanley said...

Is this the famous wailing wall of Jerusalem? Magnificent structure by the way...

Dina said...

Hi Stanley. Thanks for your visit and good question. That photo was of the old Turkish wall around the Old City of Jerusalem. Inside the city wall is the Wailing Wall, which today we call the Western Wall. You can see scenes of it here:

Shalom everybody.
Thanks for all your nice comments. Always nice to compare notes with you.

Greensboro DP, gee, I dunno. On Yom Kippur people wish you "Tsom kal," meaning "Easy over the fast" or literally, an easy fast.

PA, that is funny. :)

Reader Wil said...

I've just returned and try to catch up with your posts! It's all so interesting that I'll probably say the same at every post I read of your hand!