Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The fast of the 10th of Tebet

8th day of Tebet, 5771

Approximately in the year 300 BCE, on the 8th of Tebet, King 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 rooms and yet they all translated the Biblical text the same exact way. Still, the rabbis of the time considered this event as a tragedy. Why? Because the Greek Bible -known as the Septuagint- advanced the agenda of the Hellenist Jews to bring Greek culture into Jewish life and eventually paved the way to create a new Judeo-Christian religion, 'based on our Torah', who would claim, "Anu Israel!"
"WE are now the NEW Israel!"

The 9th day of Tebet commemorates the death of Ezra the Scribe (5th Century 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.

The main tragedy happened on the 10th of Tebet: the onset of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylonia, which ultimately ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Bet haMikdash in the year 586 BCE, and sent tens of thousands of Jews into the 70-year Babylonian Exile. The date of the Tenth of Tebet was recorded for us by the prophet Yechezkel, who himself was part of the first group of Jews exiled by Nebuchadnezzar.

(Adapted from rabbi Berel Wein)

For the full article of rabbi Wein see:

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC 130 Steamboat Rd. Great Neck NY 11024