28 December 2009, Monday, 10:22
author: Eugene Rakhimkulov
Jews all over the world mark the Day of the 10th Tevet today, considered the most sorrowful date in the Jewish calendar. According to the legend Jerusalem had been destroyed this very day.
In the 3336th year by the Jewish chronology (in 424 BC) the Babylon Tsar Nebuchadnezzar had started the siege of Jerusalem. The siege was very long and heavy and was finished with the capture of Jerusalem and its total destruction. The main Jewish cathedral was burnt down and all Jews exiled to Babylon. Since then the 10th of Tevet is considered the day of prayers and the fast for the future generations.
One more event in Jewish history – the translation of Torah into the Greek language is also connected with the 10th of Tevet: Ptolemy the II – the Tsar of Greek Egypt – searched for a chance to dispute the divine origin of Torah and the nature of its laws. He called 72 Jewish sages and ordered them to translate Torah into Greek language. At that he placed every sage into separate apartments in order to prevent them communicating with each other. Thereby Ptolemy the II wanted to get different translations and to prove Torah’s imperfection because in accordance with the Greek tradition it was considered the alternative versions of the translation were caused by low quality of the source. But it turned out that all 72 translations were identical.
Nowadays the Day of the 10th Tevet has also the third meaning: this is the day of commemoration for those people, whose date of death is unknown and there is nobody to read the funeral prayers for them. That’s why it is accustomed to light the memorial candles and read the last prayers on this day.