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What happened on 10 Tevet? . . . Why do we need the Holy Temple? . . . The positive aspects of a “siege mentality” . . . The Rebbe on the Holocaust . . .

10 Tevet

10 Tevet

Jerusalem Under Siege

The walls of Jerusalem at night
The walls of Jerusalem at night

On the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tevet, in the year 3336 from Creation (425 BCE), the armies of the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem. Thirty months later—on 9 Tammuz 3338—the city walls were breached, and on 9 Av of that year the Holy Temple was destroyed. The Jewish people were exiled to Babylonia for 70 years.

The 10th of Tevet (this year, December 22, 2015) is observed as a day of fasting, mourning and repentance. We refrain from food and drink from daybreak to nightfall, and add selichot and other special supplements to our prayers. The fast ends at nightfall or as soon as you see three medium sized stars in the sky.

More recently, 10 Tevet was chosen to also serve as a “general kaddish day” for the victims of the Holocaust, many of whose day of martyrdom is unknown.

An ancient Jewish custom, which was revived by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, is to deliver words of inspiration that arouse the soul to repent on fast days. Presented here is our modest contribution to our duty as Jews to reflect on the significance of the tragic events of our history and come away motivated, encouraged, and—yes—even inspired:

a historical background
A historical perspective on the events that led up to the destruction of the Holy Temple
When faced with a tragedy we mourn. But we also ask ourselves: what positive element lies buried within this negative experience? We cannot always see it. But we always look for it
Walls insulate and isolate. Breached boundaries leave us vulnerable to attack and loss of identity. What, then, is it that we need?
The killers are driven by hate, the pundits and politicians by vanity and naiveté; together, they would rip the heart of Israel from its body
We philosophized our way to science, and then science led us through the doorway into mysticism. But we still don’t know how to live our lives.
The precious jewels had been scattered to the farthest reaches of the globe. How would the king recover that which was most dear to him?
The day of the wedding arrived. Hundreds of beggars took their places around tables laden with the best food money could buy. But then tragedy struck . . .
If a cold and dark world mutes the light of G‑d and dulls our minds and hearts, it only accentuates the most basic and essential element of our relationship: the bond between the physical self of man and the quintessential being of G‑d.
All events, even those which appear to be tragic, have holy roots.
Audio | 30:12
A Siege of Support
The tenth of Tevet is a fast day commemorating the date on which the Babylonians laid siege around the walls of Jerusalem, leading to the eventual destruction of the Holy Temple.
If a river is polluted, do you start by washing off the beaches, or do you plug up the sources that are pouring in all the toxic waste?
What the Rebbe Said (and Didn't Say) About the Holocaust
Is G-d responsible? How can His actions (or inaction) be defended? Should they be defended?