Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
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A Day fast this Tuesday (Tomorrow) called the Tenth of Tevet
The day has no relationship to Hanukkah, but it happens to follow that festival by a week. Whether the 10th of Tevet falls 7 or 8 days after Hanukkah depends on whether the preceding Hebrew month of Kislev has 29 or 30 days in the relevant year.
According to II Kings, on the 10th day of the 10th month (Tevet)[note 2], in the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign (588 BCE), Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, began the siege of Jerusalem. 18 months later, on the 17th of Tammuz at the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign[note 3] (586 BCE), he broke through the city walls. The siege ended with the destruction of the Temple three weeks later, on the 9th of Av (Tisha B'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 the Book of Zechariah, where it is called the "fast of the tenth month." One opinion in the Talmud  states that the "fast of the tenth month" refers to the fifth of Tevet, when, according to Ezekiel, 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 the books of Ezekiel (the siege) and Jeremiah.
According to tradition, as described by the liturgy for the day's selichot, 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. Judaism sees this event as a tragedy, as it reflected a deprivation and debasement of the divine nature of the Torah, and a subversion of its spiritual and literary qualities. They reasoned that upon translation from the original Hebrew, the Torah's legal codes and 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 wording, the authenticity and essence 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 (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.
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, it 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. When it does, the unusual event of a Torah and Haftarah reading at the Mincha service right before Shabbat takes place. This is fairly rare; the most recent occurrence was in 2013, while the next will happen in 2020. If it falls on Friday, the fast must be observed until nightfall, even though 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.[note 4]
Although this fast is considered a minor fast, the Abudirham attributed to it 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, this fast would actually be observed on Shabbat. (This cannot happen under the current arrangement of the Hebrew calendar.) The reason the fasts 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 Leviticus23:28. This view is rejected by the Beit Yosef and all other major halakhic authorities, but was popularized by Rabbi Moses Sofer, who wrote a homily based on the philosophy behind this view.
Although the Tenth of Tevet is an annual observance on the Jewish calendar, its placement around the end of the Gregorian calendar year means that in some Gregorian years, there is no observance of the fast, while in other years, the fast is observed twice. Thus, the Tenth of Tevet does not occur at all in 2019. Instead, the "2019" observance of the fast will take place in January 2020, while the subsequent observance will occur in December 2020.
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.
Equating Haredi Judaism with Pacifism, Monsey Pundit Denounces Self Defense By Yori Yanover
Rolnitzky spends the first thousand words of his essay on glorifying the loving relationship between blacks and Jews, dotted with his own personal anecdotes of bliss and harmony:
"When I stopped at a gas station on Skyline Drive in Ringwood, New Jersey, several weeks ago, the gas station attendant dropped everything and volunteered to show me which products were kosher. He himself uses kosher symbols, he explained to me, because he eats halal."
And who can forget this one:
"My twin boys were raised with the help of a black woman who developed a taste for cholent and gefilte fish and was extraordinarily loyal to my children. After the attack in Monsey, she called to express worry and sympathy about what happened."
Which made this writer wonder if anyone has claimed that the entire black community in the US, all 20 million or so of them, are anti-Semites. I'm pretty sure I haven't.
But I, like practically every sane person who followed the news in the month of December, 2019, couldn't help noticing that every last one of the two dozen anti-Semitic attacks on religious Jews were carried out by black men and women.
It's not a racist observation, it's just an observation.
Should we ignore this obvious fact? Should we conceal it?
I've read many responses online that suggested just that.
A recent JewishPress.com report that was headlined "Watch: Black Predators Assault Young Chassidic Man in Rush Hour" was called racist by some angry readers, even though every word in it was true: it was a gang of black predators who spotted an innocent Chassidic young man walking down the street and attacked him like mad dogs.
And, as could be seen in the attached video, after he had quickly moved on, trying to evade a full blown confrontation, they picked up the chase a second time.
I trust that the editors of the JewishPress.com would have headlined the story "Watch: White Power Predators Assault Young Chassidic Man in Rush Hour" had those young men been blonde and adorned with Nazi tattoos. But they weren't. Neither were they Muslim. It so happened that in December, 2019, it was all black thugs doing the Jew hate thing.
After a thousand words that would have made even the late Malcolm X put a quarter in the blue and white JNF pushke, Shimon Rolnitzky finally gets to the reason for which he had been given all this parking space at JTA:
"And we must be wary of those who say that guns are the answer. From the time that Haredi children are very small, we learn to despise weapons. The words of my teacher ring in my ears: 'Our strength is only with our mouth (praying to the Almighty).' When we learned the Talmud tractate of Shabbat, the teacher pointed out that the sages say (63a) that a person is not allowed to go around with a weapon on the Sabbath because their purpose is 'shameful,' they are a disgusting item. We always heard from our religious leaders that the weapon of a Jew is the voice of Jacob (Genesis 27:22).
"They educated us to be pacifists and talked to us about how nice it will be when the Messiah comes, when 'nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.' (Isaiah 2:4)"
Let's unpack: the mishna in tractate Shabbat is not about self defense, it's about whether or not it is proper to wear a weapon on Shabbat as a kind of adornment, as jewelry, which is Rabbi Eliezer's opinion, and the Gemara cites Psalms 45:4 – "Warrior, strap your sword at your thigh; [gird on] your splendor and majesty." Meaning a weapon could add to the beauty of the Shabbat attire.
As to the voice of Jacob, the occasion upon which Isaac makes this statement is when Jacob, with encouragement from his mother, Rebecca, pretends to be his murderous brother Esau, at which point his blind father Isaac says, "The voice is the voice of Jacob and the hands are the hands of Esau." Indeed, years later, when Jacob is confronted by the angel of Esau who wants to kill him, Jacob fights him, physically, like a Roman gladiator, following which the angel crowns Jacob as a god.
Our sages educate us to be pacifists?!
The very holiday those sweet Chassidim were celebrating when the meshugener black man burst into the house with his machete, was the commemoration of the war waged by five warrior brothers and their father, who chased out of the land of Judea the invading Syrian army along with the Helenized Jews (man, do I miss Rabbi Meir Kahane's favorite analogy…). Pacifists?
It's sad to see how Rolnitzky cherry picks from Scripture and the Talmud to come up, out of context, with the destiny of Esau, as foreseen by Isaac, "You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you break loose, you will shake his yoke off your neck," to suggest that the children of Jacob "despise" the sword.
No we don't, and neither did our sages and our Shulchan Aruch:
"And with regard to a town that is located near the border, even if the gentiles did not come with regard to lives, but rather with regard to matters of hay and straw, i.e., to raid and spoil the town, they may go out against them with their weapons, and they may desecrate Shabbat due to them, as the border must be carefully guarded, in order to prevent enemies from gaining a foothold there.
"Rav Yosef bar Manyumi said that Rav Naḥman said: And Babylonia is considered like a town located near the border, and war may be waged there on Shabbat even if the gentiles came for financial gain. And this means the city of Neharde'a, which was located near the border." (Eruvim 45a)
In other words, Jews must regard misbehaving gentiles as potential murderers at all times, including on Shabbat. And the Shulchan Aruch, which I know Rolnitzky regards as a reliable halachic source, rules (Orach Chayim 329):
"There is one who says that in our times, even if they come for money, we desecrate the Shabbat [to fight them], because if the non-Jew is allowed to plunder his money, the situation would become deadly. (In any event, everything is according to the situation (Piskei Mahara'i Chapter 156).)
For the record, I'm not a big fan of the NRA; I support a strong ban on guns so that only people who can show that they are sane and have undergone training to handle guns competently and who can show a reason why they need guns should be permitted to own guns. But I despise cheap tricks, and the use of Shimon Rolnitzky's bizarre essay to support a progressive agenda he probably would not support if you threatened to take away his last piece of herring at a shalosh seudos, is a cheap trick.
Incidentally, JTA included a video of Rabbi Rottenberg, whose house had been invaded, saying that had anyone there possessed a gun things would have been much worse. I agree, because I know the good rabbi envisioned some untrained members of his own flock trying to use a gun, but you know, we do have the commandment (II Samuel 1:18): "to teach the people of Judea archery."
Buy guns with a permit, get properly trained in using and handling your gun, and defend yourself against rabid anti-Semites.
It's only been 10 years, but in that time the world has been transformed. Social media has gone from angel of democracy to demon. Climate change has become something we can see with our own eyes. All over the world, established orders have been overturned.
In Israel, new technologies like auto-tech, fintech, AI and food-tech have emerged to dominate Israel's high-tech scene, while Israel's food scene has come of age – as you can tell by the high number of accolades to Israeli restaurants rolling in. Israeli TV has also won its fair share of praise, spurring an unexpected new area of export.
In this decade, Israel lost one of its most internationally popular leaders, Shimon Peres; but women the world over got two strong new role models — Israeli actor Gal Gadot, who stormed the world with her portrayal of Wonder Woman, and Netta, who swept Eurovision with her bubbly empowerment song, "Toy."
We've looked back through our archives to discover your favorite stories. It's an extraordinary journey that charts the emergence of Israel's aid industry, the move toward veganism and alternative meats, and the growth of tourism to Israel – from just 1.9 million tourists to Israel in 2010, to 4m. in 2019.
Some of the technologies we wrote about went on to huge success, some pivoted, and some – notably Shai Agassi's Better Place – went out with an almighty bang.
Take a look through the decades and remember some of the highlights of every year.
In June 2010, a professor from Bar Ilan University announced that he was developing a male contraceptive pill. His hope was that it would be out on the market within five years. While the idea created huge interest, the product ultimately never came to fruition.
Israel gained worldwide praise for the speed and efficiency with which it offered aid to Haiti in the wake of a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that killed around 160,000 people. The field hospital set up by the Israel Defense Forces was one of the most advanced hospitals in Haiti. Five years later, Israel was still in Haiti helping rebuild the community. Haiti was the first time that the world really sat up and noticed Israeli humanitarian aid.
A breakthrough from Hadassah's Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center was poised to enable cultivating embryonic stem cells for treatments for disorders such as Parkinson's disease, diabetes and age-related macular degeneration. This later formed the basis for CellCure Neurosciences, currently developing OpRegen for treating dry AMD.
Our top story of 2011 was on Vaxil Bio Therapeutics, which was developing a vaccine that could activate the body's natural immune system to seek and destroy cancer cells. Since then, the company has completed a Phase I/II clinical trial in multiple myeloma patients, and is advancing toward clinical studies in additional solid tumor indications.
Yokneam-based Neuronix developed an electromagnetic stimulation system for treating moderate Alzheimer's disease, allowing patients to regain faded cognitive skills. Though approved for use in Europe, Australia and Israel, in 2019 an FDA advisory panel decided that the benefits of the system did not outweigh the risks to patient health.
In June, we published a list of the 10 best beaches in Israel. Nine years later, the story continues to be one of our most popular, which for a country with as much beautiful coastline as Israel's, isn't that surprising.
The US developer of skyTran chose Israel as the perfect place to pilot the software-guided personal transport pods that glide on a cushion of air. While the Tel Aviv project has yet to get off the ground, additional Israeli cities including Netanya and Eilat have since signed development deals with skyTran to upgrade public transportation.
When we reported on CartiHeal in 2013, the novel Israeli implant – which provides a scaffold for the body to regenerate joint-protecting cartilage – was already regarded as a major potential advance. It also featured in the top stories of 2016. Find out more below.
In 2014, the Iron Dome defense system emerged as the undisputed savior in Israel during the summer conflict with Gaza. Born out of necessity and Israeli chutzpah, the Iron Dome intercepts rockets, artillery and mortars headed for population centers. Sneak preview: Some of the prototype components were taken from a toy car.
Most of these unusual places to lay your head that we featured in this story– including a yurt and a converted bus – are still in business and popular with visitors looking for a different hospitality experience.
Medical devices and pharmaceuticals are a risky business and not all make it to market. But many of the exciting products anticipated in 2014 went on to successful clinical trials, such as Premia Spine's TOPS alternative solution to spinal fusion surgery and CartiHeal's implant for treating cartilage lesions in arthritic and non-arthritic joints.
This story exploded on the Internet, going viral within a day. It featured the work of nonprofit Modern Agriculture Foundation, which launched the world's first feasibility study to determine how to create commercial tissue-engineered chicken breast. We featured the organization again in 2017, and it is still hard at work collaborating with academics and commercial companies to create a clean meat alternative.
Tell an Israeli that their idea is preposterous, and you've just given that inventor a reason to see it through. We loved this article, which highlights not only Israeli innovation, but the Israeli can-do attitude that takes an impossible idea – irrigating crops in the desert, or a missile defense shield for an entire country — and turns them into reality.
Our readers loved this story on a new classroom built at the Darca High School inKiryat Malachi, developed specially for children with attention and learning disorders. The room featured bouncy chairs made from yoga balls, walled off cubicles, desks on wheels, and a touch of the outdoor.
We knew it was going to be a tough one, but we were still surprised when virtually no-one managed to get a full 25 out of 25 questions right. You can still try this quiz. Will you get it right? Don't say you haven't been warned!
The rising global popularity of Israeli cuisine isn't limited to gourmet fare. Here we tempted your taste buds with Israel's most iconic snack foods, such as Bamba and Krembo, getting attention from bloggers and noshers around the world.
Our readers loved seeing photos of the gorgeous "booths" created for dining during the Sukkot holiday in the fall, from Jerusalem's Waldorf Astoria, to kibbutzim in the north and south, to the Samaritan communities of Mount Gerizim and Holon.
Our downloadable, printable 15-slide exhibition shares the stories of Israeli aid in the wake of international disasters and Israelis helping refugees — even citizens of enemy nations — and sharing their expertise and knowledge worldwide. This DIY exhibition, still available on our home page, was displayed in creative ways in several countries.
CartiHeal, mentioned already in 2013,caused quite a stir among readers for its groundbreaking Agili-C implant to treat cartilage and osteochondral defects in traumatic and osteoarthritic joints. Agili-C has now been implanted in over 500 clinical study patients with knee, ankle, and great toe cartilage lesions in Europe and Israel; clinical studies have begun in 15 US sites.
2017 was most definitely Gal Gadot's year. In fact, so were 2018 and 2019, and 2020 could turn out to be just as successful for this Israeli actor. But it was in 2017 that Gadot first stormed the world with her role as Wonder Woman. Find out how Beyoncé helped her get the part.
In January, we asked high-tech experts which companies to watch for in the coming year. They identified many hot growth areas including augmented reality, auto-tech, fintech, clean-tech, drones and digital health. And many of the companies they mentioned have indeed gone on to significant things.
Integrity Applications developed a glucose monitoring device that allows diabetics and pre-diabetics to track blood sugar levels without the need to prick a finger. The device is now on sale in several locations around the world.
You just can't watch this video without getting goosebumps. Israel social singing sensation Koolulam gathered Jews, Christians and Muslims at the Tower of David Museum in a vocal show of unity coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
It's the stuff of sci-fi, only it's real: Israeli researchers invented the first fully personalized tissue implant, engineered from a small fatty tissue biopsy from the patient. This will make it possible to engineer any kind of tissue implant for any part of the body, without danger of rejection.
Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School Prof. David Naor is developing a single drug that could effectively treat incurable inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis as well as neurodegenerative maladies such as Alzheimer's disease.
You're always on the lookout for exciting new places to stay in Israel, and this list really whet your appetite. Now you can book rooms at (most of) these fabulous hotels in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the Galilee and the Negev, aside from two that still haven't opened.
It is testament to just how successful and admired Israeli TV shows have become worldwide, that our most popular story of the year was about the best Israeli TV. While many Israeli shows have been remade, streaming services have opened up the original Israeli versions to viewers all over the world to great acclaim. Last week, the New York Times named Hatufim (Prisoners of War) the finest international TV show of the decade, and Fauda came in at number eight.
The new SpareEat app that lets restaurants and markets offer surplus food at the end of the day at a huge discount appealed to readers two-fold – firstly they get to eat great Israeli restaurant food at a discount, and secondly – it reduces food waste. It's a win-win!
The inventors thought investors would laugh at them when they came up with the revolutionary idea of a flat modular platform, a bit like a skateboard, that houses all the car's major components, but instead they loved it. We wrote about Ree in September. The following month, the company unveiled its flat-chassis technology inside Hino Motors' new FlatFormer design.
In January we ran a story on Jerusalem startup Immunovative Therapies, which is developing an immunotherapy that could potentially cure cancer. No surprises why this was popular. The company has conducted dozens of clinical trials, but it's still a very long road ahead. Worth watching in future years.
Large breakfasts, salad with every meal, copious amounts of vegetables and olive oil, a reliance on the Mediterranean diet – it's no surprise that Israel was #1 on a new ranking of countries with the lowest rate of diet-related deaths worldwide, and #10 on the 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index. In our article we took a look at the reasons why.
After Joseph, the viceroy of Egypt, orders the imprisonment of Benjamin in wake of his having "stolen" the goblet, Judah approaches the throne. Assuming the position of the "responsible adult", Judah pours out his heart, pleads to be able to return Benjamin to his elderly father and offers to take his place in prison.
Joseph can no longer contain himself and he reveals his true identity to his brothers. Following their emotional reunion Joseph sends his brothers home to their father with food and clothing together with his proposal that they all return to Egypt where he can provide for them during the remaining years of the famine.
Jacob with his entire family sets out on the road to Egypt. G-d speaks to Jacob in a dream and tells him that he has nothing to fear because ultimately his descendants will leave Egypt and return to the Promised Land.
Throughout the Torah there are letters which have crowns (Hebrew- tagim) in the form of three small protrusions on the top left side of the letter. The letters upon which these "crowns" rest are shin, ayin, tet, nun, zayin, gimel and final tzadi.
From time to time we find additional "tagim" on certain letters. For example, there are two "tagim" on the right head of the letter shin in the word Yisrael and two "tagim" on top of the center head (Genesis 46;2). The total number of "tagim" in the word Yisrael- seven.
During the course of Jacob's difficult life he was forced to deal with seven crises: Esau, Laban, the angel, Dinah, Joseph, Shimon and Benjamin.
"A righteous man may fall seven times but he will rise again" (Proverbs 24;16).