by Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple
The wall of Jerusalem was breached on 17 Tammuz, enabling the enemy to enter Jerusalem and destroy the sanctuary. The fast we observe that day is, according to the prophet Zechariah, one of four that commemorate the destruction of the city and the Temple. In messianic times all four will change their character and “be to the House of Judah joy and gladness and cheerful seasons; therefore peace and truth shall you love” (Zech. 8:19). It is one thing, and a most welcome one, to have faith that darkness will turn into light and sorrow into joy. But what is the connection with loving peace and truth?
It points to one of the two approaches to the destruction of the Temple – the external and the internal. The external interpretation blames the enemy; the internal interpretation blames us ourselves. Without excusing the enemy’s cruelty and savagery, the internal interpretation says that in a community in which truth and peace are not honoured there will be such social disintegration that the enemy will find it easier to enter and do its damage.
Conversely, if we raise the quality of our society we will achieve such inner strength that we can overcome any odds and find that no dream, even the rebuilding of the sanctuary, will be impossible.