b'WESTERN MARBLE ARCH SYNAGOGUEFAST OF TAMMUZ BRIAN DEUTSCHT he Talmud tells us of several misfortunes that took place on this day the first of which was Mosesbreakingthetabletsonhisdescent from Mt Sinai forty days after Shavuot the day of the giving of the Torah. The last of these is the day on which the evil Titus broke the wall of Jerusalem to begin the destruction of the second Temple.Now it is interesting to see the connection between these two events. The first is truly difficult to understand. A mere forty days after all the revelation on Mt Sinai and the whole nation of Israel saying we will both perform all we are told and listen to all we are bid they have already reverted to idolatry with the golden calf. How can one even contemplate that in such a short time they had forgotten the most important of all commandments that they actually heard from the Allmighty being the first two of the Ten Commandments I am the Lo-d your G-d and Thou shalt have no other god which are the fundamentals of our whole faith. Today it does seem difficult to fathom how anyone could worship inanimate objects such as idols but it was the practice of most nations if not all of them at that time. The practice of idol worship linked to magic and superstition was practiced in most of the known world at that time . Egypt with its gods and sorcery was renowned for it and having just left that den of iniquity it did not take much even after such a truly amazing experience to be led back to the old ways once their inspirational leader Moses was thought to have disappeared. The veneration of cows is something that was practised in Egypt even as it is today with the Hindu veneration of kine.Maimonides in the Guide to the Perplexed indeed stated that the whole purpose of sacrifices in the Temple were to dispel this notion of worship of domestic beasts and that according g to him we will not need this after the coming of the Messiah.It is also related byOur Sages of Blessed memory -that every time a tragedy is visited upon the children of Israel a part of the Golden Calf sin is forgiven.The sin of idolatry was something the Israelites were guilty of many 58'