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Friday, 10 Tevet, 5781

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Fast of Tevet 10
Jewish History

On the 10th of Tevet of the year 3336 from Creation (425 BCE), the armies of the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem. Thirty months later -- on Tammuz 17, 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.

Link: Asarah B'Tevet

Laws and Customs

Tevet 10 is observed as a day of fasting, mourning and repentance, in remembrance of the siege of Jerusalem. We refrain from food and drink from daybreak to nightfall, and add the Selichot and other special supplements to our prayers. (More recently, Tevet 10 was chosen to also serve as a "general kaddish day" for the victims of the Holocaust, many of whose day of martyrdom is unknown.)

Learn about Tevet 10
Essays and Stories on the Holocaust

Daily Thought

G-d created a monster. He called it darkness. He hid within its bowels precious jewels from far beyond this world.

Then He formed us creatures of earth and breathed within us His own breath of life. And we were charged, “Go fight with this monster and retrieve those precious jewels. Destroy it, or it will destroy you.”

Darkness then declared itself master of the universe, the default state of all things. It said, “Go ahead, pretend to fight me, until you too sink back into the abyss of meaninglessness upon which all reality is painted.” 

From our very beginning, we have fought. Sometimes we win, and darkness is chased away to its cave by our light. We turn our backs for a moment, and darkness has returned.

Sometimes we lose the battle. Sometimes the monster swallows us alive. As Egypt swallowed the Children of Israel. 

Yet the divine breath never leaves us, even within the monster’s bowels. And from there, we retrieve those jewels.

So do not fear when darkness overtakes you. Do not be dismayed when it claims victory. For it is all with purpose, a glorious purpose, as the wise Solomon said, “One man shall rule over another—for his own demise.”

Indeed, the Zohar teaches us, when the darkness rules over us, it is to its own demise. 

And that is the entire point of the exercise. Not simply to retrieve the jewels, but to bring about a wonder that could only happen through our agency and through this struggle of ours:

That eventually we will unveil darkness and discover its true identity. We will no longer call it evil, but divine mystery. The shadow of a G-d who is the true background of all things, who just is because He is.

For in truth, there is nothing else but Him.

Torat Chaim, Hanachash Haya Arum.