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Asarah B'Tevet in Israel

By Sharon P

We all know the feeling of rushing through life, sometimes without a moment to think and see where are we actually going and more importantly... why.

A person standing before the Western Wall with an open siddur

Today is עשרה בטבת‎ - Asarah BeTevet (10th of Tevet), many people in Israel stop their routines and refrain from eating and drinking from the morning until after sunset.


This is done as an act of memory for the beginning of the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem. Later on, it also was announced as the general “Kadish” or mourners’ day, an opportunity to pray in memory for those who perished in the Holocaust without a date of death.

There are three more fast days in Judaism that have to do with the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. It raises the question of why this fast day is on the 10th of Tevet not on the actual date of destruction.

We can all use breaks in life to think of "why" and "where", something which is harder to do when we are busy with our physical needs such as grocery shopping, cooking, and eating.

During this specific fast day, we stop to think "how did this all start?". We focus on the very beginning of the destruction and try to think about what should we do differently so history doesn't repeat itself and so that we will grow and learn from our mistakes. There is a prophecy about this ta’anit (fast), among others, that in the future it will become a day of celebration, similar to a person overcoming his difficulty or challenge.


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