Friday, December 17, 2010

10 Teves, 5771

Today is the tenth of Teves, which is a fast day commemorating several dark events that occured around this time of the year.

First of all, the siege on Jerusalem commenced on this day, as the Roman legions surrounded the city walls. This was the beginning of the destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash (the Holy Temple) and our exile which we are currently still in.

Also, the ninth of Teves is traditionally known as the yahrtzeit of Ezra HaSofer (the Scribe).

The third major occurrence was the completion of the Septuagint, Ptolemy of Egypt's directive that seventy different Torah scholars translate the entire Torah into Greek, which actually happened on the eigth of Teves. The translation was a miraculous feat, as each scholar determined what and how to alter certain parts of the Torah in a completely consistent fashion with each other, despite their being cloistered in individual rooms. Nevertheless, we still view the translation as a tragedy, and our sages teach us that upon completion, "a great darkness descended upon the world." Indeed, the Septuagint ultimately served as the template for the Christian Old Testament, and has been used as a weapon against those who are unfamiliar with the original text...

As mentioned above, the day is observed as a fast day; the event is so severe, that unlike any other fast day we fast even when the tenth falls out on an erev Shabbos, like it does this year.

I would like to wish everyone a meaningful fast; may we all meditate on the significance of the day, and learn valuable lessons to apply to our lives...

3 comments:

micha said...

You omit that it was also a date chosen to commemorate those killed in the Shoah, rather than getting into halachic questions of adding another taanis to the calendar. Even among those who mourn on Yom haShoah, most say Qaddish today.

Until this year, R' Amital would give a huge sichah on 10 beTeiveis, drawing from his experiences as a survivor to make a hashkafah point. Zeikher tzadiqim livrakhah.

-micha

Yakov said...

According to our calendar no other fast could fall out on erev shabbos, and if it would, I'm not so sure we wouldn't fast. When Taanis Esther falls out on Shabbos, since we can't push it off to the next day which is Purim, we push it back. And once we're anyway not fasting on the correct day, we push it back to Thursday, so as to not come in to Shabbos while fasting.

What is said to be special about Asarah b'Teves is that some say that even if it fell out on Shabbos (which it doesn't in our calendar) we would fast.

Shmuel said...

Reb Micha - thanks for your input. In truth, I wasn't aware of that. In my family, we at least had the merit to know the actual days that our relatives were killed...

Yakov - the truth is, I'm not as proficient in the ins-and-outs of our calendar workings as I should be. The little that I do know never ceases to amaze me at the genius of the Sages, though.