Loss Becomes Joy
A few days ago was Asarah B’Tevet, the tenth of Tevet on the Hebrew calendar. Tevet 10 is a day when the Jewish people fast. This is not a severe fast, like the fast of Yom Kippur. It is only a minor fast from dawn until dusk. It ends at nightfall, or as soon as people see three stars in the sky.
Jeremiah 52:4 explains what occurred on this somber day in biblical history. “Now it came about in the ninth year of his reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, camped against it and built a siege wall all around it.” This was the beginning of the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the First Temple, and the Babylonian Exile.
The Fast of the Tenth Month forces us to consider the number ten. Ten is a measure of sanctity, wholeness, and perfection. There are Ten Commandments. There are also ten levels of holiness in the Land of Israel, and ten utterances through which the world was made. Because Tevet is the tenth month of year, the Fast of the Tenth Month occurs on the tenth of the tenth. It represents an extra level of kedushah or holiness!
The Prophet Zechariah once inquired about this fast. Was this the right day of the year for people to mourn, repent, and refrain from food and drink? The Father’s answer in Zechariah 8:19 surprised him. It suggested that days of sadness, loneliness, and loss hold tremendous potential. They are destined to be revealed as days of joy and feasting.
Published January 2, 2018