We have a few "official" fast days:

  1. Tzom Gedalia – The last Jewish administrator killed and the final Jewish community sent into exile

  2. 10th of Teves – Siege in the time of the 1st Beis Hamikdash

     Taanis Esther - "Only" a long standing custom.

  3. 17th of Tammuz – Destruction of the wall of Jerusalem

  4. 9th of Av – Destruction of the two Batei Hamikdash

Why are there no fast days when the Mishkans were destroyed, when the first group of exiles were sent, or when the Jewish kings became subjugated to Bavel?

  • Especially since from the psukim I believe it seems that most of yehudah was actually exiled before the destruction at galus y'hoyachin
    – andrewmh20
    Dec 28, 2014 at 15:22
  • 1
    I would suggest the best way to answer this is to look at the Mekoir of the 4 "Beis Hamikdosh" fasts as you mention which is the Possuk in Zechariya Perek 8 Possuk 19 and look in depth at the long Pirush of the Ibn Ezra on that Possuk who indirectly addresses your point and then look at the Malbim.
    – B.Kahan
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:21
  • 1
    17th of Tammuz is specifically for the second Beis HaMikdash; the walls were destroyed the first time on the 9th of Tammuz. IIRC while the second Beis HaMikdash stood, they didn't fast over the destruction of the first. Perhaps similarly, once the first Beis HaMikdash was built, we wouldn't mourn over the Mishkan anymore. Further, the Mishkan was designed to be temporary, so it's less of a loss than the Churban Batei Mikdashos, which were designed to be permanent.
    – DonielF
    Feb 21, 2019 at 1:18
  • 1
    When was The mishkan destroyed?
    – Lo ani
    Mar 7, 2019 at 17:21
  • 2
    I feel like the question should be edited to read: "Why do most of our fast days revolve around the Beit Hamikdash?" because obviously we have plenty of fasts that don't revolve around it
    – Aaron
    Apr 1, 2020 at 17:20

3 Answers 3


An article on the OU website here answers this question.

As a starting point, one needs to look in Zechariah where the construction of the Second Beis Hamikdash is underway. The question posed at the time was whether there should still be a chiyuv to fast on Tisha B'Av if a new Temple was being made (Zechariah 7:1-3).

Zechariah goes on to relate Hashem's response (7:4-6):

וַיְהִ֛י דְּבַר־יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת אֵלַ֥י לֵאמֹֽר׃ אֱמֹר֙ אֶל־כָּל־עַ֣ם הָאָ֔רֶץ וְאֶל־הַכֹּהֲנִ֖ים לֵאמֹ֑ר כִּֽי־צַמְתֶּ֨ם וְסָפ֜וֹד בַּחֲמִישִׁ֣י וּבַשְּׁבִיעִ֗י וְזֶה֙ שִׁבְעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה הֲצ֥וֹם צַמְתֻּ֖נִי אָֽנִי׃ וְכִ֥י תֹאכְל֖וּ וְכִ֣י תִשְׁתּ֑וּ הֲל֤וֹא אַתֶּם֙ הָאֹ֣כְלִ֔ים וְאַתֶּ֖ם הַשֹּׁתִֽים׃

“[And God said to me:] Say to the people…When you fasted and lamented on the fifth and seventh months [i.e. Tisha b’Av and Tzom Gedalya] during the last seventy years, have I been fasting?! And when you eat and drink (not on a fast day), is it not you who decides to eat or drink?!”

The OU website writes:

Note how God’s rhetorical answer implies that Am Yisrael should not be asking God concerning the laws of the fast days. After all, the fast days are not God’s commands, rather they are customs instituted by the people themselves in order to remember Yerushalayim. Just as the people decide when and what they eat, they too should decide if and when they should fast....

...God takes this opportunity to remind Bnei Yisrael (7:7-10) that the first Temple was destroyed because of their wayward behavior, for they did not follow the guidance of their prophets. To make sure the new Temple will be successful, the people must make sure not to repeat those same sins that caused the first one to be destroyed.

In a nutshell, God is not interested in people fasting; rather that they follow His laws properly, especially those of social justice, and not repeat the sins of their forefathers.

Thus, after making it clear what His aspirations are for His people i.e. to follow the way of truth and justice, all four fast days are addressed Zechariah 8:18-19

וַיְהִ֛י דְּבַר־יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת אֵלַ֥י לֵאמֹֽר׃ כֹּֽה־אָמַ֞ר יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֗וֹת צ֣וֹם הָרְבִיעִ֡י וְצ֣וֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי֩ וְצ֨וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֜י וְצ֣וֹם הָעֲשִׂירִ֗י יִהְיֶ֤ה לְבֵית־יְהוּדָה֙ לְשָׂשׂ֣וֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָ֔ה וּֽלְמֹעֲדִ֖ים טוֹבִ֑ים וְהָאֱמֶ֥ת וְהַשָּׁל֖וֹם אֱהָֽבוּ׃

“Thus says the Lord: The fast of the fourth month (17th Tammuz), the fast of the fifth month (Tisha B’av), the fast of the seventh month (Tzom Gedalya), and the fast of the tenth month (10th of Teves), shall become for the House of Judah days of joy and gladness – happy festivals – [on the condition that] you must love and follow – emes v’shalom – truth and peace.

And as a result:

God declares that should Am Yisrael fulfill their destiny and establish a nation characterized by justice & truth, there will no longer be any reason to fast. Instead, these fast days will become holidays.

So it would seem from this analysis that all of these fast days were characterised by failings in the Jewish people, particularly in the area of social justice. When we as a nation take pains to correct these flaws all of these four fast fast days will be celebrated as holidays and that is why so many of our fast days "revolve around the Beis Hamikdash".


We don’t commemorate the destruction of the mishkan because the mishkan was meant to be replaced, and therefore its destruction wasn’t much of a loss. We don’t commemorate the rest of the exiles because, like it says in meseches Megillah (daf 11b) the 70 years of Gallus were counted from the destruction of Jerusalem, possibly because it marks the end of Jewish reign in Israel.


Because all destruction says Rabbi Aharon Kotler is due to the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh.

  • 3
    The destruction of the Mishkan in Shiloh was due to the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh?
    – Double AA
    Jul 30, 2020 at 14:20
  • @DoubleAA See the answer from Lo ani.
    – Yehuda
    May 28, 2021 at 17:22

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