10 Tevet

admin | 1/11/2012, 7:30 a.m.

Jewish holiday marks siege of Jerusalem

On Thursday, Jan. 5th, religious Jews celebrated 10 Tevet, the anniversary of the date that Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar began his siege of Jerusalem in BCE 589. The date is based upon the tenth day in the Hebrew month of Tevet. The siege lasted 30 months, but Nebuchadnezzar finally breached the citys walls and a month later the Jewish people were exiled to Babylonia for the next 70 years. During 10 Tevet, from sunrise until nightfall, worshippers refrained from eating and drinking. One of the five minor fast days during the Jewish calendar year, 10 Tevet is also meant to commemorate other calamities during Jewish history including the translation of the Torah from its original Hebrew into Greek and the death of the influential Ezra the Scribe, according to tradition. More recently, the day was also chosen to serve as a day for mourners to give a brief prayer for the victims of the Holocaust, many of whose actual day of death remains unknown. According to Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, the holiday also offers the chance for observers to practice repentance and mindfulness. Sit with what hurts: whether that's the memory of the siege of Jerusalem 2600 years ago, or the memory of your own experience of being besieged and broken-into, or the uncomfortable awareness that we allow the suffering of rape victims in our communities to remain invisible, she stated on her blog, Velveteen Rabbi. Make a conscious effort to open your heart to this suffering. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com