Israel Under Siege: The Tenth of Tevet

Question

What is the Jewish fast day that I heard is observed next week? When is it and what is it about? Thank you.

7 months

Answers

  1. The Jewish fast day you ask about is on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet, and is known as “Asara b’Tevet.” The fast is observed from morning until night. This year (2020) the fast is on Tuesday, the 7th of January.

    Historically, the fast commemorates the day when the Babylonians first laid siege to Jerusalem in 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 has chosen 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.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team