The Hebrew month of Tammuz which began this past Shabbat is a month that holds within it sadness and destruction. The seventeenth of Tammuz (observed this year Tuesday July 15) is a fast day commemorating the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Romans. National mourning is observed and mourning rituals continue until Tisha B’Av, three weeks hence.
The somber mood of Tammuz comes early as we observe today a national day of mourning for Naftali Fraenkel z”l, Gilad Shaar z”l, and Eyal Yifrach z”l. These three young men for whom we have prayed over 18 days filled with hope and desperation. Their burials were held this afternoon in the Israeli city of Modi’in which took its name from the village of the Macabbees. It was heartbreaking to hear a grandfather eulogize a grandson and to see a mother stand in front of her son’s flag draped body. The thousands who were physically present at their funerals and burials were joined by countless others here in Baltimore and around the world.
Today we mourn and we pray that in time the families and the entire House of Israel find comfort, as in the words of the prophet Isaiah chanted following the mourning of Tisha B’Av, “Nahamu nahamu ami. Be comforted , be comforted My people, says your God. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem.”