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Other Fasting Days

Fast of Gedaliah

4th of Tishrei

Fast of the Tenth of Tevet
Sara beTevet is the fast day on the tenth day of the month of Tevet.

  • The fast day commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar. The siege lasted 2.5 years and ultimately led to the destruction of the Temple.

  • On the 9th of Tevet, during the time of the Second Temple, 72 scholars were commissioned by the Egyptian ruler Talmai (Ptolemy) to translate the Torah into Greek, resulting in the Septuagint.

  • A literal translation of the Torah without the Oral Law (Mishnah) leads to a misunderstanding and distortion. The Jewish people have since experienced the consequences of this.

  • On the 8th of Tevet, Ezra, who had led the Jews back from the Babylonian exile, passed away.

  • For those who do not know the exact date on which their close relative (particularly father or mother) perished in the Holocaust, the 10th of Tevet serves as the day to observe the yahrzeit (anniversary of the date of death).

The fast begins at dawn (Alot Hashachar) and ends at sunset ('night', Tzeet Hakochavim). Since the 10th of Tevet always falls in December/January, the fast is extremely short. It is the only fast day that is not postponed when it falls on a Friday. Other fast days never occur on a Friday, except for Ta'anit Esther, which is moved from Friday to Thursday if it falls on the calendar on Friday. Other fast days that fall on Shabbat are postponed to Sunday. Only Yom Kippur, if it falls on Shabbat, is observed on Shabbat. On the morning of the 10th of Tevet, Selichot are inserted into the Amidah prayer, and the Torah is read. In the afternoon, even on Friday afternoon, at the beginning of Mincha, the same portion from Shemot (Exodus) is read, referring to the sin of the Jewish people regarding the Golden Calf, and a Haftarah (portion from the Prophets) is recited. The last times the 10th of Tevet fell on a Friday were in 2001 and on December 17, 2010.

Fast of Esther

We fast before Purim as a commemoration of the fasting and prayers of the Persian Jews during their self-defense struggle against the Persian anti-Semites.

Fast of the 17th of Tammuz

The 17th of Tammuz marks the beginning of a three-week period of Jewish national mourning. It commemorates the disasters that have befallen our people during this time of the year throughout our history. This includes the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 68, the placing of idolatrous images in our Temple, and the burning of Torah scrolls. Even earlier in our people's history, this was the day when Moses descended from Mount Sinai and broke the two Tablets of the Law upon seeing a portion of the people worshiping the Golden Calf.

The period of mourning begins with this fasting day and ends three weeks later with a 25-hour fast on Tisha B'Av. During this period, weddings are not held, and festive celebrations are avoided.

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