Asarah B’Tevet

Fast of the Tenth of Tevet
  • Days of Mourning
Asarah B’Tevet

Asarah B’Tevet

עשרה בטבת

Ah-SA-ra Be-Tey-Vet

“The Tenth of [The Month Of] Tevet”

What is Asarah B’Tevet

This fast day commemorates the start of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, which eventually led to the destruction of the First Temple.

When is Asarah B’Tevet

Tevet 10



Source and Origin of Asarah B’Tevet

There is no explicit Biblical command to fast, though the siege of Jerusalem is recorded in both in II Kings 25:1, and Jeremiah 52:4. It’s also noteworthy that Ezekiel (24:1-2) is commanded to, “record this date, this exact day.” The day is first mentioned as a day of fasting in Zecharia 8:19.

Alternate Names for Asarah B’Tevet

  • Yom Hakaddish Ha’klalli – (Modern) “Day of General Kaddish (Memorial Prayer)”

Customs of Asarah B’Tevet

  • Fasting – Similar to the other minor fast days, eating and drinking is prohibited from dawn until nightfall of the 10th day of Tevet.
  • Extra Liturgy – Again, similar to other fast days, extra Selichot, liturgical prayers, are added into the morning service (Shacharit).
  • Other sad events – Rabbinic tradition records 2 other sad events that took place on the two days preceding the 10th. On the 8th of the month, the translation of the Torah into Greek was completed. 70 sages were forced to complete this translation. Despite translating in isolation, miraculously all translations produced were identical. No longer in the original Hebrew, incorrect interpretations could now be deduced from the new translation. On the 9th of the month, another sad event occurred, but the precise nature and details remain shrouded in mystery.
  • Kaddish for Holocaust VictimsKaddish is a memorial prayer recited yearly, on the anniversary of a close relative’s death. During the Holocaust, the exact date of death was often unknown for many victims. In 1950 the Chief Rabbinate of Israel instituted the 10th of Tevet as a day general day to recite Kaddish for victims of the Holocaust.

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