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Friday, December 17, 2010

Even On The Eve of Shabbat, The Fast of the Tenth of Tevet

My brain is a bit foggy right now.  My normal morning routine is to drink a lot of water and good strong coffee just after waking up.  On Shabbat I drink instant coffee after my water, which doesn't compare, but on Shabbat I'm in different gears.

Friday generally doesn't have fast days.  The Jewish Calendar is adjusted so that certain days, like Yom Kippur, never happen on a Friday, and when other fast days are supposed to fall on a Friday, they are moved up to Thursday. What is so important, so significant about the Tenth of Tevet?  Why do I have to fast davka today, on Friday?  I need that clarity and energy I get from my water-coffee routine.

Today we're mourning:
The Tenth of Tevet marks the onset of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylonia, and the beginning of the battle that ultimately destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon, and sent the Jews into the 70-year Babylonian Exile. The date of the Tenth of Tevet is recorded for us by the prophet Yechezkel, who himself was already in Babylonia as part of the first group of Jews exiled there by Nebuchadnezzar, 11 years earlier than the actual destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem itself.
The destruction of our Beit HaMikdash, Holy Temple, took a long time.  I have no doubt that it actually even began before the siege. 
  • Maybe  the first stages were when we couldn't build and repair around the Temple Mount. 
  • Maybe we Jews were forbidden to reach holy sites. 
  • Maybe we had lost control of the sites and they were routinely vandalized.  
  • Maybe some "misguided" leaders had been trying to make unworkable compromises with our enemies about sharing Jerusalem.
  • Maybe Jewish life was being restricted, and Jews were forbidden to live and build in areas of Eretz Yisrael, The Land of Israel.
The prophet Yechezkel was already in exile eleven years earlier than the destruction.  The destruction was  more than than the physical walls and stones.  Maybe it was something like what we see, and must stop, today.

Looking at it that way, as an eternal danger, it is more understandable why Chazal, our Sages, decreed that even on a Friday, as we prepare for the Holy Shabbat, we must mourn our loss of a Holy Temple.  That's because the small, earlier steps may not be recognized for what they truly are.

We, Jewish Israelis, must make it very clear that the Land of Israel is Our Land not to be shared or divided!

Shabbat Shalom and Tzom Kal
Have a Peaceful Shabbat and Easy Fast


Yonatan said...

Indeed, it doesn't take a prophet to see that leader after leader has attempted to give away our heritage in the land. Thank G-d it hasn't happened. Message for us...we cannot rely on leaders who are not torah true.

Batya said...


Robin Epstein said...

No other fast can fall on a Friday. The other fasts that fall on a Shabbat are postponed to Sunday (Tzom Gedalyah, Shiva Asar b'Tammuz, Tisha b'Av) or advanced to Thursday (Fast of Esther). Only Asarah B'Tevet and Yom Kippur are observed on whatever day they fall, because both are referred to with B'etzem Hayom Hazeh.

Batya said...

To be on the same level as Yom Kippur, amazing. It's giving me more motivation to stick to the fast.

Shy Guy said...

Robin, let's take Be'etzem Hayom Hazeh (in the midst of this day) further.

The Rav of our shul explained that all other fasts (Tzom Gedalyah, Taanit Esther, 17th of Tammuz, 9th of Av) commemorate a past historic event.

Not so Yom Kippur and -surprisingly - the 10th of Tevet.

Yom Kippur is a correct in mid-course of our erroneous ways that are with us here and now - Be'etzem Hayom Hazeh.

The 10th of Av commemorates the siege of Jerusalem. Yet this was not yet the destruction of Jerusalem and the Beit Hamikdash. Had the people repented, Hashem would have saved us.

So, too, is the annual fast on the 10th of Tevet. We are here but we are not redeemed. We can change everything here and now - Be'etzem Hayom Hazeh.

It is up to us.

Batya said...


Hadassa said...

I know I'm a bit late here, but anyway. The Sages arrange the calendar so the Asarah B'Tevet will never fall on Shabbat, because fasting for it on Shabbat actually is a bit of a problem, because it's not on the level of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur never falls the day before Shabbat, for logistical reasons.

Batya said...

The fixed calendar makes it easy. Rav Elchanan Bin Nun once told us, horrifying some people, that the "watchers" were told never to see the new moon on certain days to prevent calendars like Yom Kippur on Friday.