Thursday, December 24, 2009

What do we commemorate on the 10th of Tebet?(1)

7th of Tebet, 5770


Approximately in the year 300 BCE, on the 8th of TebetKing Ptolemy of Egypt forced 70 Jewish scholars to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek. The Talmud relates that this project was blessed with a miracle, the 70 scholars were all placed in separate cubicles and yet they all came up with the same translation. Still, the rabbis of the time considered this project negative. The Talmud records that when this translation became public "darkness descended on the world”.
Why? Because the Greek Bible –known as the Septuagint- aided the advance of the agenda of the Hellenist Jews to bring Greek culture into Jewish life and was strategically used by other religions to, eventually, create a new religion. In fact, as the Talmud tells us, the translation of the Bible would allow the nations of the world to claim, “Anu Israel!” “We are the NEW Israel!”


The 9th day of Tebetcommemorates the death of Ezra the Scribe (5thCentury BCE). Ezra led the return of the Jews to Jerusalem from their Babylonian exile. It was under his direction and inspiration, together with the help of the court Jew, Nechemiah, that the Second Temple was built. (adapted from rabbi Berel Wein)
This coming Sunday 12/27 is the 10th of Tebet, a fast day, and these two events are among the tragedies that we commemorate then.

More on the impact of the Septuagint: http://www.ou.org/publications/ja/5763/5763winter/THINKING.PDF