Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



The Fast of the Tenth Month: An Unusual Taanis

Rabbi Avraham Kosman

While the existence of a fast in Teves is referred to in Tanach, the great Tannaim Rabi Akiva and Rabi Shimon bar Yochai differ on its exact date. How did a dispute arise regarding such a fundamental matter? And, does the fast of Asarah B’Teves override Shabbos, as Yom Kippur does?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

“Hashem spoke to me … in the tenth month, on the tenth of the month, saying: Son of man, write for yourself the name of the day, this very day; the king of Bavel approached Yerushalayim on this very day” (Yechezkel 24:1–2).

This pasuk introduces the fast day for which the month of Teves is primarily known — the Tenth of Teves, which is named for the date on which it occurs, similar to the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av (but unlike Yom Kippur, Tzom Gedaliah, and Taanis Esther, whose names are derived from the reason for the fast). Actually, Chazal list three fast days that occur during this month: the 8th of Teves, when the Torah was translated into Greek; the 9th of the month, when Ezra HaSofer passed away; and the fast of the Tenth of Teves, the subject of this article. Of these, however, only the Tenth of Teves continues to be observed.

There are also two fast days during Teves that are observed by specific communities: the 23rd of Teves, the date of the expulsion of the Jews from Portugal, and the 25th of Teves, which saw the burning of the Jewish community of Frankfurt.[i] Not for naught do we recite in the Selichos for Asarah B’Teves, “The month of Teves — I was severely afflicted during it, and its path was changed upon me.”

Yet, while the existence of a fast in Teves is explicitly referenced in a pasuk, the great Tannaim Rabi Akiva and Rabi Shimon bar Yochai differ on whether the fast is observed on the tenth or the fifth of the month.



 

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you