Tenth of Teves: The Time is NOW!
Monday, January 09, 2006 / 9 Teves 5766
For those who receive Rabbi Rosenthal's Daily Halacha email, you know that tomorrow is a fast day called Aseres B'Teves (the 10th of Teves). This fast commemorates the siege that the Babylonian King Nevuchadnetzar laid on Jerusalem. This is a 'minor' fast, which begins shortly before sunrise and ends shortly after sunset. For those who don't receive Rabbi Rosenthal's email... well, now you know...
I heard a small dvar torah from my Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Asher Rubenstein that I thought I should pass on.Being that this fast takes place in the middle of the winter, it happens to be the shortest one of the year. Also, being that it does not commemorate the actual destruction of Jerusalem or the Beis Hamikdash, it's not one of the most well known fast days. However, there is one particular halacha that makes this fast day stand out from all the others, save Yom Kippur. The Beis Yosef says that if Aseres B'Teves falls out on Shabbos, one must fast on Shabbos, and not push it off until Sunday. This is quite strange, since every other fast day, excluding Yom Kippur, but including Tisha B'Av, gets pushed off if it falls on Shabbos.
One of the signs of maturity is the ability to "see the future". That being, a person will be able to make logical deductions based off of their environment and events around him, to know what the future will be. For example, a five year old cannot internalize the fact that if his entire diet consists of candy, it will give him a big tummy ache and his dentist bills will skyrocket. However, any adult with half a brain knows this and has this fact ingrained in them.
What happened on this day? The Babylonian army began their siege on Jerusalem. Inside Jerusalem, nothing changed. Food and water was still plenty and they were protected by a wall surrounding the city. Okay, fine, there's an army out there... but who knows, maybe they'll go away?
The 10th of Teves is so important because we are obligated to 'look into the future'. One of the main weapons the Yetzer Horah uses against us is Delay. If a person wants to change their life around, usually they'll hear a little voice in their heads saying, "Okay, fine... let's start tomorrow!" Guess what? That's the Yetzer Horah!
The point to the 10th of Teves is that in a way, we ARE commemorating the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. For the nation failed to 'see the future'. It was through that failing that made the destruction possible. Had the people seen the situation, not for what it was at the present, but rather what will soon to happen, then they could have done tshuva and changed history.
It is for this reason that Shabbos does not push off the fast. The whole point of this fast is to remind us NOT to push of tshuva! There must not be ANY delay. Once we say, "I'll start tomorrow....” it will undoubtedly continue to be pushed off.
May we properly use this fast day and begin to make some change in life TODAY without delay. We should all have an easy and meaningful fast!
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