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Three Weeks Between the Gates

So. I did not write a note about Tzom Tammuz (or Sheva Asar Tammuz, the fast of the Seventeeth of Tammuz, which was this year on the 19th of July in the solar calendar), in large part because I don’t actually observe it. However, having added a Jewish Observances overlay to my online calendar, this year I was at least reminded of it.

The observance is the beginning of the Three Weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av, the Ninth of Av, which is a fast day and a day of mourning for the destruction of the temple. I wrote about Tisha B’Av last year, in the context of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy (which seems quaint now, hard to believe it was only a year ago) and I don’t really have anything new to say about it. Yes, it’s worth commemorating the military defeat and the Expulsion, but I don’t mourn the Temple.

I somehow started thinking about the Three Weeks, though, which are referred to as the weeks Between The Gates, or the weeks In the Narrow Places. mem tzadi rash, the same root as mitzrayim, or Egypt, as well as presumably the root for tzuris, trouble. But the metaphor is of a narrowing in, and I wound up getting the image in my head of a rodeo chute. Y’all know about rodeo chutes, yes? You have at least seen clips of the bucking bronco? The bull is brought from a wider place and confined (literally between the gates) before being let loose into the ring. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the actual Hebrew phrase, but that’s the image that stuck with me.

Now, how to interpret the image: are we during this time confined until our post Tisha B’Av release? Release into what? Are we the bull or the cowboy? Can we carry the Divine for eight seconds?


What an awesome image... :)

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