Tenth of Tevet – Jerusalem Under Siege
I recently heard that there is a Jewish fast day shortly after Chanukah. When is it? And what is it about? Thank you.
About a week after Chanukah every year there is a Jewish fast day called “Asara b’Tevet” — the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Tevet. To be clear: Although it follows Chanukah in the Jewish calendar, there is absolutely no relationship between the two events!
This year the fast is on Thursday, the 28th of December, 2017. The fast is observed from morning until night.
Historically, this fast commemorates the day that the Babylonians first laid siege to Jerusalem, 423 BCE, cutting it off from the outside world. This not only laid the groundwork for the destruction of the Holy Temple but also caused horrific suffering for the besieged population of Jerusalem, resulting in many thousands who died from starvation and disease.
In recent times, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel chose to observe the Tenth of Tevet as a “General Kaddish Day” for the victims of the Holocaust, many of whom lack identifiable yahrtzeits (anniversaries of their death).
It is a day for both personal and national introspection, with the goal of bettering our ways with hopes and prayers for a brighter future.