Dec 19, 2007

Important Days in Judaism: 10 Teves

Today is the 10th day of the Hebrew month Teves. 10 Teves is a fast day.

The days leading up to 10 Teves, the 8th and 9th, are also fast days, but they are not public fast days. They have been declared as "Fasts of the Righteous" - individuals can accept those days as fast days, but they are not publicly mandated. 10 Teves is a public fast day and has incorporated the concepts of the 8th and 9th days for the majority of people who do not fast on those days.

8 Teves is the day when the Septuagint was completed. While that Wiki page gives a lot of info on the Septuagint, according to our tradition Ptolemy the king of Greece ordered 72 sages of the Jewish people to translate the bible into Greek. He was clearly not looking for a translation of the bible, because if he was he would have let these sages sit together and work on a proper translation. Instead, what he did was put each sage in his own room and made him translate the whole thing. He then would compare the 72 different translations and look for inconsistencies with which to attack Judaism. The bible had never before been translated out of the original biblical Hebrew, and in Jewish tradition, this day was considered comparable to the day of the worshiping of the Golden Calf.

9 Teves is the day of the deaths of Ezra and Nehemia. They were the two who brought the Jews out of the galus of Bavel and returned them to Eretz Yisrael. They began the rebuilding of the Second Temple. Few Jews came back with them to Israel. Most Jews were comfortable in the Diaspora living lives of wealth and comfort. Most of the Jews who joined them on the journey to the Land of Israel were the poor and destitute.

10 Teves is the day of the beginning of the siege around Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylonia besieged Jerusalem on 10 Teves. The siege subsequently lasted 3 years and led to the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdash and the exile of the nation.

10 Teves has also been incorporated as the day commemorating the memories of those whose day of death is not known. Because of this, last night the gravesites of Yehoshua Bin Nun and Calev ben Yefunah were opened to the Jewish public. I was not able to go this time (though I have gone in the past), but hundreds of people went. Calev's date of death is not known and that is why the site was opened last night. The site of these graves is located in Kafr Hares, an Arab village in the Shomron.

Fast days are meant for repentance and contemplation.

May we see the rebuilding of the Temple in the near future, preceded by world peace, specifically (but not limited to) in the Middle East, the return of our captured soldiers, and harmony among Jews.


  1. The ninth of Tevet was also (primarily!?) a fast day to recall the suffering that was brought upon the Jewish world in Jesus's name.

    According to our sources, Jesus was born on the ninth of Tevet.

    The Ezra and Nechemia thing was a cover up for the most part.

    Sources tell me that the Hirhurim website will be having a major posting on this issue on Sunday.

    Be sure to check it out!

  2. really? that is not mentioned in Eliyahu KiTov's book Sefer Ha'Todaah (Book of our Heritage) as far as I can remember.... I will have to check...

  3. anon,

    Far be it from me to preemptively disagree with Gil and Ari (note: Gil runs the hirhurim blog, and Ari edits), but I was always under the assumption that Dec. 25 is a pagan holiday which was "adopted" as the day to celebreate Jesus' birth (an way to pave an easier way for pagans to join the new religion), and that Jesus was actually born in the springtime, making a 10 Teves birthday impossible.

    The suffering was brought about to Jews was not in Jesus' name per se, but because of our alleged participation in his death. Therefore, a fast for this reason should be in the springtime (maybe taanis bechoros is the "real" coverup fast).

    Also, the piyutinm which are said during selichot don't (to the best of my knowledge) mention this at all.

  4. Dear Yoni-

    1.There does exist a theory supporting the position you bring up, however it doesnt jive with the normative theories. See the Hirhurim blog 2p.m.ish on Sunday (Israel Time)

    2. Piyutim: Were also laundered by the censors.

    3. Who's Ari?

  5. anon,

    1. There are many theories as to when he was born, and AFAIK, none of them are during this time of year. I'm not sure what you mean by "normative". Dissenting opinions could have been "laundered" by the church (see your second point).

    2. Good point.

    3. Ari Enkin is the general editor of hirhurim. I didn't mean my comment as a slight against either him or Gil.

  6. I hope you added to Wiki, Rafi. We have to do that, you know. People need to know this stuff.
    I can always count on you for a good fast-day post!

  7. Nah. I don't do wiki. You need to be a more thorough writer for wiki than I am.

  8. R. Kitov doesn't explain why it's called Tirgum Hashivim if there were 72 translators. A rounding down?


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