19 July 2011

17 Tammuz

The principal event marking the 17th of Tammuz is the breaking of the First Tablets. This requires an explanation inasmuch as there were 40 days between the Giving of the Torah at Sinai and the breaking and certainly the Children if Israel had learned them very well and even wrote them down out of a sense of love for Torah. 

If that’s the case, what was so significant about the Tablets which were engraved with the Ten Utterances to the extent that a fast day was established to commemorate their breaking? 
To understand this, we need to consider the difference between  writing and engraving.  In writing, the parchment and ink are two separate entities in contradistinction to engraving whereby the letters are comprised of the material itself. 

This applies to the Tablets containing the Ten Utterances. At the time of the Sinaitic Revelation, all aspects of Judaism were “engraved” in the very being of all Jews for all times.  The fact that a Jew is able to choose out of his “free will” is only a superficial apperance and it's  impossible to change the reality of that "engraving". 

An instruction from all this is as follows: all the 613 Torah commandments, the seven Rabbinic ordinances, and all the stringencies and Jewish customs are “Torah.” All of those were included in the Ten Utterances and they have to be etched into the life of each and every Jew to the point where they won't be able to distinguish within them, i.e. everything is Torah.

From a Sicha of 17 Tammuz, 5741 (1981)

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