2 Then Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him arose and struck down Gedalya son of Achikam son of Shafan with the sword and killed him, because the king of Babylon had put him in charge of the land.
41:2 And struck down Gedalya
Gedalya son of Achikam is appointed by the Babylonians as governor of Yehuda after the destruction of Yerushalayim. A small band of Jewish fanatics, led by Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, take advantage of Gedalya’s hospitality and assassinate him on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. As a result, the few Jews remaining in Israel flee to Egypt to avoid the vengeance of the Babylonian army, ridding the Holy Land of a Jewish presence for the remainder of the Babylonian exile. The death of the last Jewish leader in Israel marked the end of the First Israelite Commonwealth. Since then, for over two thousand years, Jews have fasted in commemoration of Gedalyah’s death on the day after Rosh Hashana, to remind them how hatred and zealousness cost them their sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook taught that since Yerushalayim was destroyed on account of hatred and factionalism (Yoma 9b), it is through love and kindness that the Jews will return to the land and the Beit Hamikdash will be rebuilt.