Insights into the Tenth of Tevet

The Tenth of Tevet is considered a minor fast day. Many Jews are not even aware that this fast even exists. The reason why it is considered minor is because we are only restricted from eating and drinking. The fast only takes place during the day and the stringencies of Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av such as not showering, not wearing leather shoes etc.don't apply.

The fast of the Tenth of Tevet is not minor in terms of its importance. The Tenth of Tevet is the day that the walls of Jerusalem were surrounded before the destruction of the first Beit HaMikdash (Temple). The occurences on the Tenth of Tevet were the first steps which ultimately led to the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash.

In the Book of Zechariah, the question was asked whether the fasts associated with the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash would still need to be observed once the Beit HaMikdash was rebuilt.

The answer was that in times of complete peace these fast days would actually be transformed to holidays and mourning would actually be forbidden. However, the Beit HaMikdash would only remain if people treat each other with respect.

Unfortunately, we know the end of the story. The Second Beit HaMikdash was destroyed and now we are back to the drawing board. The fasts have been reinstituted.

Since the founding of theState ofIsrael, we are now in a new redemptive period. A lot of what is happening in Israel today evokes Zechariah's prophecy (Zecharia Chapter 8):

""Thus says HaShem: I have returned to Tzion and will dwell in the midst of Yerushalayim: and Yerushalayim shall be called the city of truth...Behold I will save my people from the east country and the west country, I will bring them in and they will dwell in the midst of Yerushalayim, they will be my people and I will be their God in truth and righteousness...These are the things that you shall do: speak truth to your neighbor, execute the judgement of truth and peace in your gates and let none of you devise evil in your heart against your neighbor and love no false oath: for all of these things I hate says HaShem... The fast of the fourth month (17th of Tamuz) and the fast of the fifth month (Tisha B'Av) and the fast of the seventh (Tzom Gedalia) and the fast of the Tenth (10th of Tevet) shall be times of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts to the house of Yehuda, therefore love the truth and peace.""

Aside from just fasting this year, let's take it upon ourselves to work on the mitzvot of Ben Adam LeChavero, mizvot between a person and their fellow person. Through the observance of these mitzvot we can ultimatelybring about the building of the Third Beit HaMikdash which will never be destroyed.