Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Today is the 10th of Tevet and here are 5 important facts regarding this day:
- The fast on the 10th of Tevet commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem. One morning our fathers’ fathers woke up to discover that soldiers of Nebuchadnezzer, the Babylonian king, had surrounded the walls of the city. The year was 588 before the common era. It’s hardly less than astonishing that we have remember and memorialize this date up until today.
- Residents of Jerusalem felt that the Holy Temple would never be destroyed, that their sovereignty here was eternal. The prophet Yermiyahu (Jeremiah) tried to persuade the people to adhere to the code of behavior prescribed for those dwelling in the Land of Israel, but they did not heed his words. The fast is a reminder that our security here depends on our behavior.
- But wait a minute. The walls of Jerusalem were not breached on this day. The Holy Temple still stood. Destruction came later. However, the fast was set according to today’s date because it was on this day that the first sign of a coming catastrophe was visible. Still, there was time to change course and repair what needed to be fixed. The fast reminds us how important it is to notice the first cracks in our walls, to identify the beginnings of potential destruction – both on a national and personal level, and to nip impending disaster in the bud.
- After the founding of the state, it was decided to mark today’s date as “Yom HaKaddish HaKlali” (All-Inclusive Day of Kaddish), in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust on unknown dates. Many survivors discovered that there was no record of when their relatives died so they did not know when to say kaddish for them, to light a memorial candle, or on which day to learn Torah in dedication to their memories in order to assist in their souls’ ascent in the upper worlds. If you have such relatives, this date, especially, is the day to remember them.
- This year the 10th of Tevet arrives 100 days after Rosh HaShana. It’s an opportunity for soul searching, for meditating on where we were and where we are going, on the goals we set for ourselves 100 days ago and where we are now, 100 days later.