TAMMUZ (Heb. תַּמּוּז), the post-Exilic name of the fourth month of the Jewish year. The word, but not the month, occurs in Ezekiel 8:14 and is held to be identical with the Babylonian Dumuzi corresponding to Adonis of the Greeks. Tammuz as the name of the fourth month occurs frequently in rabbinic literature, as in *Megillat Ta'anit. Its zodiacal sign is Cancer. In the present fixed Jewish calendar it invariably consists of 29 days, the first of Tammuz never falling on Monday, Wednesday, or the Sabbath (see *Calendar). In the 20th century Tammuz in its earliest occurrence extended from June 10th to July 8th and in its latest from July 9th to August 6th. Traditionally historic days in Tammuz are: (1) the festive 14th of Tammuz, the anniversary of a Pharisaic victory over the Sadducees (Meg. Ta'an. 331); (2) the 17th of Tammuz, a fast commemorating five calamities which befell Israel (see *Tammuz, Fast of). With the 17th of Tammuz commences the three-week mourning period over the destruction of Jerusalem which ends with the Ninth of *Av.

[Ephraim Jehudah Wiesenberg]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.