Tevet is the 10th month on the Jewish calendar, counting from Nisan. Its name, which is mentioned in the book of Esther, was acquired in Babylonia, and shares a root with the Hebrew word tov, meaning “good.”

This month begins with the last days of Chanukah. By internalizing the message of the ever-increasing lights of the menorah—reminding us of the power of good over evil—we are able to reveal the good that is hidden in our lives and in the world around us.

The 10th of Tevet is a fast day, commemorating the start of the siege of Jerusalem in the year 3336 (425 BCE), which led to the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) two-and-a-half years later on the ninth of Av.

On a fast day, the Divine attribute of mercy is able to be drawn down into this world. By fasting over the destruction of the Temple, one “sweetens” G‑d’s anger with Israel, the cause of the destruction. Our sages explain, “Every generation for which the Temple is not rebuilt, is as though the Temple was destroyed for that generation.” As such, a fast day is not really a sad day, but an opportune day. It’s a day when we are empowered to fix the cause of that first destruction, so that our long exile will end, and we will find ourselves living in Messianic times. May that be very soon.