The Chafetz Chaim wrote that a major reason some people live beyond their means is to gain approval. They feel the need to spend large amounts of money on things that will gain them status, even though they are unable to afford them.
This is the opposite of a Torah way of life. We know that G-d gives us all the approval we need.
The day has no relationship to Chanukka, but it happens to follow that festival by a week. Whether the 10th of Tevet falls 7 or 8 days after Chanukka depends on whether the preceding Hebrew month of Kislev has 29 or 30 days in the relevant year.
Tenth of Tevet Official name Hebrew: עשרה בטבת Observed by Jews Type Jewish religious, national Significance Remembers the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia Observances Fasting Begins 10 Tevet at 72 minutes before sunrise Ends at the beginning of 11 Tevet 2015 date December 22, 2015 2016 date January 8, 2017 2017 date December 28, 2017 Frequency Annual (per Hebrew Calendar)
As with all minor Jewish fast days, the Tenth of Tevet begins at dawn (alot ha-shahar) and concludes at nightfall (tzeit hakochavim). In accordance with the general rules of minor fasts as set forth in the Shulchan Aruch, and in contrast to Tisha B'Av, there are no additional physical constraints beyond fasting (such as the prohibitions against bathing or of wearing leather shoes). Because it is a minor fast day, Halacha exempts from fasting those who are ill, even if their illnesses are not life-threatening, and pregnant and nursing women who find fasting difficult. The Mishnah Berurah notes that it is still commendable to observe all the restrictions of Tisha B'Av on the minor fast days (except the restriction of wearing leather shoes). Even so, he says, one should not refrain from bathing in preparation for Shabbat when the Tenth of Tevet falls out on a Friday.
The Tenth of Tevet is the only minor fast day that can coincide with Friday in the current Jewish calendar. If the fast occurs on a Friday, the unusual event of a Torah and Haftarah reading at the Mincha service right before Shabbat takes place. This is fairly rare; in the recent past it occurred in 1996, 2001, 2006, 2010 and 2013 and will again occur on a Friday in the years 2020, 2023, 2025, 2034 and 2037. Under the current calendrical scheme, the Tenth of Tevet cannot fall on Shabbat.
Although this fast is considered a minor fast, it has an additional theoretical stringency not shared by any other fast except Yom Kippur, namely that if the Tenth of Tevet were to fall out on a Shabbat, then according to some, this fast would actually be observed on Shabbat. The reason the fast of the Tenth of Tevet and Yom Kippur must be observed on the actual day on which they occur is because of the phrase "the very day" (עצם היום הזה) is used in reference to both of them, in Ezekiel 24:2, in reference to the Tenth of Tevet and similarly for Yom Kippur in Leviticus 23:28.
If it falls on Friday, the fast must be observed until nightfall, even though the Shabbat begins before sunset (up to 72 minutes earlier, depending on the halachic authority), and even though this requires one to enter Shabbat hungry from the fast, something typically avoided. It cannot be determined for sure whether other fasts would have the same ruling, because no other fast day can fall out on Friday.
Day of general kaddishThe Chief Rabbinate of Israel chose to observe the Tenth of Tevet as a "general kaddish day" (yom hakaddish ha'klalli) to allow the relatives of victims of the Holocaust, and whose yahrtzeits (anniversaries of their deaths) is unknown, to observe the traditional yahrtzeit practices for the deceased, including lighting a memorial candle, learning mishnayot and reciting the kaddish. According to the policy of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel, the memorial prayer is also recited in synagogues, after the reading of the Torah at the morning services. To some religious Jews, this day is preferable as a remembrance day to Yom HaShoah, since the latter occurs in the month of Nisan, in which mourning is traditionally prohibited.
According to II Kings (25:1–25:4), on the 10th day of the 10th month (which is Tevet when counted from Nisan, the "first month" according to Exodus12:1–2), in the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign (588 BCE), Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, began the siege of Jerusalem. Two and a half years later, on the 17th of Tammuz at the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign (586 BCE) Jeremiah (52.6–7), he broke through the city walls. The siege ended with the destruction of the Temple three weeks later, on the 9th of Av, the end of the first Kingdoms and the exile of the Jewish people to Babylon. The Tenth of Tevet is thus considered part of the cycle of fasts connected with these events, which includes: Shivah Asar B'Tammuz (17th of Tammuz) and Tisha B'Av (9th of Av).
The first reference to the Tenth of Tevet as a fast appears in Zechariah (8:19) where it is called the "fast of the tenth month." One opinion in the Talmud (b. Rosh Hashana 18b) states that the "fast of the tenth month" refers to the fifth of Tevet, when, according to Ezekiel (33:21), news of the destruction of the Temple reached those already in exile in Babylon. However, the tenth is the date observed today, according to the other opinion presented in the Talmud. Other references to the fast and the affliction can be found in Ezekiel 24:1–24:2 (the siege) and Jeremiah (52:4–52:6).
According to tradition, as described by the liturgy for the day's selichos, the fast also commemorates other calamities that occurred throughout Jewish history on the tenth of Tevet and the two days preceding it:
On the eighth of Tevet one year during the 3rd century BCE, a time of Hellenistic rule of Judea during the Second Temple period, Ptolemy, King of Egypt, ordered the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, a work which later became known as the Septuagint. Seventy two sages were placed in solitary confinement and ordered to translate the Torah into Greek. The expected outcome would be a multitude of different translations that would then be compared and critiqued by the Greeks as there were some sentences in the bible that could be understood as offensive to pagans if taken wrongly and would obviously need to be changed. This would demonstrate the muddled meanings of the Torah and the divergent opinions of Jewish interpreters. However, all seventy-two sages independently made identical translations into Greek. The Greeks saw this as a most impressive feat. However, various rabbinical sources see this event as a tragedy, a debasement of the divine nature of the Torah, and a subversion of its spiritual qualities. They reasoned that upon translation from the original Hebrew, the Torah's legal codes & deeper layers of meaning would be lost. Many Jewish laws are formulated in terms of specific Hebrew words employed in the Torah; without the original Hebrew code, authenticity of the legal system would be damaged. The mystical ideas contained in the Torah are also drawn from the original Hebrew. As such, these would not be accessed by individuals studying the Torah in Greek (or any other language) alone.
On the ninth of Tevet, "something happened, but we do not know what it was..." (Shulchan Aruch). The selichot liturgy for the day states that Ezra the Scribe, the great leader who brought some Jews back to the Holy Land from the Babylonian exile and who ushered in the era of the Second Temple, died on this day, and this is verified by the Kol Bo. But according to the earlier sources (the Geonim as recorded by Bahag and cited in Tur Orach Chaim 580), the specific tragedy of 9 Tevet is unknown. Some manuscripts of Bahag (obviously not those available to the Tur) add that Ezra and Nechemiah died on this day—but only after first stating that the Rabbis have given no reason for why the day is tragic. Other suggestions are given as to why the ninth of Tevet is notable as well.[
Chanukah guide for the perplexed, 2016--this is belated but still important to read.
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative" Based on ancient Jewish sages, http://bit.ly/2i7DFy6 More on Chanukah and Jewish other holidays: http://bit.ly/137Er6J 1. Chanukah and Jewish immortality. In 1899, Mark Twain wrote: "Jews constitute but one percent of the human race…, [but] their contributions to literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are away out of proportion to the weakness of their numbers. They have made a marvelous fight in all the ages, and had done it with their hands tied behind them…. The Egyptians, Babylonians and Persians rose and then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed, made vast noise and they are gone…. The Jew saw them all, beat them all and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies…. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"
2. The Chanukah Menorah (a nine-branched-candelabra) commemorates the legacy of the Maccabees, which has been a pillar of fire for the Jewish people, highlighting the prerequisites of spiritual and physical liberty, in defiance of formidable odds: faith, optimism, patriotism, memory and adherence to value and principle-driven culture. The Maccabees have become a universal role-model of national and religious liberation struggle against all odds, the victory of long-term, principle-driven faith over short-term, convenience-driven cynicism and opportunism; the victory of tenacious optimism over pessimism and political-correctness.
3. Israel's Founding Father, David Ben Gurion: "The struggle of the Maccabees was one of the most dramatic clashes of civilizations in human history…. The Maccabees overcame one of the most magnificent spiritual, political and military challenges in Jewish history due to the spirit of the people, rather than the failed spirit of the establishment …." (Uniqueness and Destiny, pp 20-22, Ben Gurion, IDF Publishing, 1953)
4. The US connection:
* On December 2, 1993, in Billings, Montana, white supremacists tossed a brick through a window of a Jewish home that displayed the Chanukah Menorah. On the following morning, the Billings Gazette – reflecting sentiments of local churches and civic leaders - printed a full-page Menorah, which was pasted on the windows of over 10,000 non-Jewish residents in a show of solidarity. Some Billings' residents displayed their Not in Our Town spirit, displaying Chanukah Menorahs on Billings' main street. The Billings' Chanukah gesture has been commemorated annually. A Chanukah candle-lighting was recently held at the State Capitol in Helena, MT.
*A bust of Judah the Maccabee is displayed at West Point Military Academy, along with those of Joshua, David, Alexander the Great, Hector, Julius Caesar, King Arthur, Charlemagne and Godfrey of Bouillon - "the Nine Worthies."
*John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, Thomas Paine and the organizers of the Boston Tea Party were referred to as "the modern day Maccabees."
* According to the Diary of Michael and Louisa Hart, George Washington was introduced to Chanukah in December 1777 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. He was challenging the much superior British military. A Jewish solider lit a Chanukah candle, explaining its significance: a conviction-driven, tactical victory against immense odds. Washington replied: "I rejoice in the Maccabees' success, though it is long past...It pleases me to think that miracles still happen." On June 19, 1778, Washington implemented the battle tactics of Judah the Maccabee, defeating the British troops.
*"In God We Trust" is a derivative of the Maccabees' battle cry, an adaptation of Moses' battle cry against the builders of the Golden Calf: "Whoever trusts God; join me!"
*In 1921, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis stated: "As part of the eternal worldwide struggle for democracy, the struggle of the Maccabees is of eternal worldwide interest…."
*The US Postal Service has issued Chanukah stamps, annually, since 1996.
5. Chanukah's historical context according to the Books of the Maccabees, The Scroll of Antiochus and The War of the Jews by Joseph Ben Mattityahu (Josephus Plavius): In 175 BCE, the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus (IV) Epiphanies of Syria (one third of the disintegrated Greek Empire) wished to exterminate Judaism and forcibly convert Jews to Hellenic values, suspecting that the Jews were allies of his chief rival, Egypt. In 169 BCE, upon his return to Syria from a war against Egypt, Antiochus (IV) devastated Jerusalem, massacred Jews, forbade the practice of Judaism and desecrated the Temple. The 167 BCE Jewish rebellion featured the Hasmonean (Maccabee) family: Mattityahu, a priest from the town of Modi'in, and his five sons, Yochanan, Judah, Shimon, Yonatan and Elazar. The heroic, creative battle tactics of the Maccabees, were consistent with the reputation of Jews as superb warriors, who were frequently hired as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Rome and other global and regional powers. The battles of the Maccabees inspired the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire from the battle against Pompey in 63 BCE through the end of the Bar Kokhba Rebellion in 135 CE.
6. The name Maccabee (מכבי or מקבי) is a derivative of the Hebrew word Makevet (מקבת), power hammer in Hebrew. It is also a derivative of the Hebrew verb Cabeh (כבה), to extinguish. Maccabee, מכבי, is also the Hebrew acronym of "Who could resemble you among gods, O Jehovah" מי כמוך באלים יי)). In Latin, the C is sometimes pronounced like a TZ, and Maccabee could be the Latin spelling of the Hebrew word Matzbee, the commander.
7. Chanukah – the longest Jewish holiday - is the only Jewish holiday that commemorates a Land of Israel national liberation struggle, unlike Passover (Egypt), Sukkot/Tabernacles and Shavuot/Pentecost (the Sinai Desert) and Purim (Persia).
8. The mountain ridges of Judea and Southern Samaria were the platform of the critical Maccabees' battles: Mitzpah (the burial site of the Prophet Samuel), Beth El (Judah's first headquarters), Beth Horon (Judah's victory over Seron), Hadashah (Judah's victory over Nicanor), Beth Zur (Judah's victory over Lysias), Ma'aleh Levona (Judah's victory over Apolonius), Adora'yim (a Maccabean fortress), Elazar and Beit Zachariya (Judah's first defeat), Ba'al Hatzor (where Judah was defeated and killed) and the Judean Desert. When ordered by Antiochus (Book of Maccabees A: 15:33) to end the "occupation" of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza, Gezer and Akron, Shimon the Maccabee responded: "We have not occupied a foreign land; we have not ruled a foreign land; we have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation." Shimon's statement is still relevant in 2016.
9. Chanukah (חנוכה in Hebrew) celebrates the initiation/inauguration (חנוכ) of the reconstructed Temple. Chanukah (חנוכה) is education (חינוכ)-oriented. According to the First Book of Maccabees, Judah instituted an eight-day holiday on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev 165 BCE (just like King Solomon's eight-day celebration of the inauguration of the First Temple), in order to commemorate Jewish history, in general, and the inauguration and deliverance of the holy altar and the Temple, in particular. A key feature of Chanukah is the education/mentoring of family members. The Hebrew word, Chanukah, חנוכה, consists of two words, Chanu-Kah ( חנו-כהin Hebrew) which means "they camped/rested" (חנו) and 25 (כ=20, ה=5), referring to the Maccabees' re-consecration of the Temple on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.