Friday, December 17, 2010

The four fast days

10th of Tebet, 5771

Today, the 10th of Tebet, is one of the four fast days in which we remember the destruction of our first Temple, Bet haMikdash (586 BCE). On the 10th of Tebet the enemy started the siege of Jerusalem which provoked untold starvation, epidemic , etc . The Babylonians made a first breach in the wall on the 17th of Tamuz. Three weeks later, on the 9th of Ab, the Bet haMikdash was destroyed and most of the Jewish people were taken captives to Babylonia. A small remnant remained in Israel but a few years later, they attempted to rebel against the Babylonians killing Gedaliah ben Achikam on the 3rd of Tishri. The consequences were tragic: the small Jewish
population that had remained form the destruction of the Temple was also exiled.

These four dates 10 of Tebet, 17 of Tamuz, 9 of Ab and 3 of Tishri were established by our Rabbis as fast days inviting us to remember the destruction of the Bet haMikdash causing us to introspect and repent.

Not always have we fasted during these 4 days . After 70 years in Babylonia we came back to Israel and built the Second Bet haMikdash. The prophet Zekharia (see chapter 8, v.19) and Anshe Keneset haGedola canceled these fast days and turned them into days of celebration.

When the second bet haMikdash was destroyed, in the year 68 ACE we started to fast again.

May haShem Almighty turn once again these days of fast into days of celebration biMhera beYamenu Amen.

Shabbat Shalom!

Candle lighting in NYC: 4:11 PM
Shabbat Ends: 5:20 PM

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