Between the first and the last big deportation of Jews from Jerusalem to Babylonia (606-588 B.C.) — where the Jews were treated as colonists, Ezekiel the Prophet was carried away to Babylonia. Ezekiel, who with Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel, is one of the four major prophets, and had been deported to Babylon with the faithless King Jehoachin in 597 B.C., in a vision of the Jerusalem Temple about 594 B.C., was told by an angel:
Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord s house which was toward the North and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord s house, and behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord were about five and twenty men their faces toward the East and they worshipped the sun toward the East. Then he said unto me; Hast thou seen this, 0 son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me with anger. (Ezekiel 8:9-17; 9:14-17)
Today, celebration of the Fast of Tammuz, together with Sun and
Moon veneration, prevails in the Jewish "synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9) just as in the time of Ezekiel.
With that awareness characteristic of Talmudism, the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia cites Ezekiel's denunciation of the weepings for Tammuz who "was held to descend to the netherworld every year in the month of June or July and then, after lamentations and various offerings, to be restored to life through the intermediation of his wife or mother, Ishtar [Astarte]. This is a vegetation myth very similar to that of Adonis in Syria. The share of the women in the rite was due to the fact that the myth was connected with the idea of fertility . The fourth month of the Babylonian year (July-August) was named after Tammuz, and this has been taken over into the Jewish calendar."
The authority for the fact of Tammuz in Judaism is Talmudic, and it is particularly observed by the Orthodox Jews (see Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, "Fasting"). It is one of two main fasts of the synagogue year. The other is in connection with the High Holidays when all vows and obligations to be made during the coming year are annulled in advance, through the "Kol Nidre." During the three weeks between the Ninth of Ab and the preceding Fast of Tammuz no marriages may be performed.
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