This Week in Jewish History: Asarah BeTeivet by Aryeh Krischer


On the Tenth of Teivet we fast in commemoration of an event that occurred more than 2000 years ago. On the tenth day of the month of Teivet, 425 BCE, the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem, a thirty month ordeal culminating the breach of Jerusalem’s walls and ultimately the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash. Since then the Tenth of Teivet has also been adopted by some as a day to say Kaddish for those who perished in the Holocaust as very few have a definite date of death. Though we may be piling sorrows onto this day, we must not forget to look ahead. As the great Rabi Akiva points out in a story recounted in Makkot 24, now that the prophecy foretelling the destruction of the Mikdash has been fulfilled, we can rest assured that the prophecy foretelling its ultimate rebuilding will certainly be fulfilled. Though the Tenth of Teivet may bring us down over the past, looking to future can lift us up.

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