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Rabbi’s Blog: Friday's 10 Teves Update + ZAKA Link

12/20/2023 03:06:51 PM



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Dear friends,
Please note that Mincha on Friday will be earlier this week at 4:00pm due to the 10th of Tevet fast day.  As to why the Fast of 10 Teves is observed even on Fridays (Erev Shabbat), please see the below excerpt from my Covid Jorunal:
There are six fast days on the Jewish calendar that apply to all of us (to the exclusion of the fast of the first born on Erev Pesach). Four surround the destruction of the Temple, and are all referenced at Zecharia 8:18-19, and the other two are Yom Kippur and Ta’anit Esther. Yom Kippur is the only one of these fasts that precludes Shabbat. All the other fasts can fall on Shabbat and this is what we do when that happens. 17 Tammuz, Tisha B’av and Tzom Gedalia is postponed to Sunday, and when Purim falls on Sunday, Ta’anit Esther, which is usually observed the day before Purim, is advanced to Thursday, not Friday. This is because we don’t want to fast into Shabbat. Once we are not fasting anyway on the day of Haman’s evil decree, 13 Adar, we advance the fast to the 11th, to avoid fasting on Friday.
When the first day of Chanukah falls on Shabbat, and Kislev is slated to have 29 days, 10 Tevet will fall on Shabbat. The original calendar established by Hillel in the 4th century precluded this eventuality by adding a 30th day to Kislev, even when it wasn’t needed cosmologically, so that 10 Tevet would fall on a Sunday instead of Shabbat. 10 of the 12 months are fixed at 29 or 30 days, but Cheshvan and Kislev can have 29 or 30 days, according to cosmic need. The moon takes a circuit around the Earth in 29 days, 12 hours 44 minutes and a few seconds. Since we can’t have Rosh Chodesh right in the middle of the day, the days of the month fluctuate between 29 and 30, but those extra 44 minutes add up to an extra day after some time, and that is where Cheshvan and Kislev can be manipulated when necessary. This calendrical system is the most perfect in the world. It did not need to be corrected as the Julian calendar needed, and it is amazing, that while staying so true to the lunar months, we also stay consistent with  the solar calendar so that Pesach falls in the Spring and Sukkot falls in autumn.   
We must ask why Hillel preferred to add an unnecessary day to Kislev so that 10 Tevet would fall on a Sunday, rather than simply allow it to fall on Shabbat and have us treat that fast day the way we treat all others, by observing an alternate day, in this case on Sunday, Tevet 11. The answer to this question will explain why this is the only fast that is observed on Friday. None of the other fasts can even fall on a Friday at all, but we do see that Ta’anit Esther was moved away from Friday to avoid what we will be doing this week.
Gaonic opinion dating back to the 9th century posits that if 10 Tevet falls on Shabbat, that we would fast just as we do on Yom Kippur. Similar expressions that appear in Yechezkel 24:2 (describing 10 Tevet) and Vayikra 23:30 (describing Yom Kippur) connect these two to share this anomalous Halacha, while other fasts falling on Shabbat would be pushed off to another day. In addition, Yechezkel announced 10 Tevet in advance of the siege that would begin that day, as a sign of a decree that could then not be undone under any circumstance. As such, the day of the decree (10 Tevet) is considered more stringent than the day to which that decree portended (Tisha B’av).
Also, the other fasts for the destruction of the Temple, which are referenced in Zecharia, are only referenced by month, not by day. In the narratives of the Bible, only 10 Tevet actually falls on the day in which we fast. The siege broke through the walls of Jerusalem on 9 Tammuz (Melachim Bet 25:3), the destruction of the Temple took place on the 7th of Av (Ibid. 8), or the 10th of Av (Yirmiyahu 52:12), and Gedalia was killed in the beginning of the 7th month, (no date is given). The Talmud Bavli and Yerusahlmi have different approaches to how we have determined the correct days to fast to commemorate these tragedies, but it is clear that only 10 Tevet is a fast that unequivocally fell on the day we actually fast, hence the stringency, at least as far as fasting on Friday is concerned.
Zecharia (8:19) concludes his prophecy after referring to these four tragic commemorations by declaring, that in the future these days will be celebrated as festivals with great joy and mirth, when we all love truth and peace. We can start that process even now by spreading truth and peace wherever we are, and whenever we can. 
Kol tuv,
Rabbi Allen Schwartz


Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784