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Fasting Days

The Fast of Gediliah

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylonia sought out to conquer the Kingdom of Judah and succeeded in destroying all of Jerusalem. The holy temple was destroyed at this time. The poor class was left in Jerusalem and Gedaliah was pointed as governor. Gediliah began encouraging the Jewish people to cultivate faming and vineyards to stimulate the land and people. Yishmael (Ismael), a royal soldier attacked Judah soon after and killed Gediliah and most of Judah’s population. The remaining Jews fled for fear of their life.

On the 3rd of Tishri, we lament the death of Gediliah.

The 10th of Tevet

On the 10th of Tevet, the Babylonian King attacked Jerusalem but it took them thirty months to reach the city walls. The 9th of Av they destroyed the Bet Hamikdosh (Holy Temple). They banished the Jewish people for 70 years.
The 10th of Tevet is observed as a day to mourn, fast, and repent. Jews do not eat or drink from sunset to sundown. We add Selichot to our prayers.

The Fast of Esther

Haman planned for the Jews of Persia to be executed on the 13th of Adar but with Esther’s victory, Haman was hanged instead. This day was supposed to be a day of battle and to signify the triumph, we fast on the 13th of Adar. It is customary to give three coins as charity on this day to resemble the riches Haman gave the King to convince him to kill the Jewish people.

17th of Tamuz

Titus saw that the Jews were now weakened by hunger. Soldiers cut down all of the trees and created a thirteen mile border around Jerusalem in order to build a new path for their assault. By the end of the month of Sivan, the Romans attacked the Antonia fortress, and this time the Jewish fighters did not have strength to resist. In the beginning of Tammuz, the Romans gained the Antonia fortress. Those who had been defending the fortress now retreated behind the high walls of the Bet Hamikdosh (Temple) complex itself.

As days passed and Titus saw that the fighters in the Temple complex were still holding out, he decided to strengthen the fortress and attack the Bet Hamikdosh (Temple) complex directly. On the 17th day of Tammuz, the wall of the Bet Hamikdosh (Temple) complex was breached.

Knowing the dire situation in the Jewish camp, Titus sent Yosef (Josephus), to convince the Jews to surrender. The Jewish warriors would not claim defeat.

The 9th Of Av

The 9th of Av commemorates a day on which multiple attacks have fallen on the Jewish people.

After the Exodus, the Jews were told to go into the Promised Land, Canaan. They sent twelve spies to seek out the land and asses whether it was safe to enter. On the 8th day of Av, the spies returned and told the Jews that it was uninhabitable and not to enter. The Jews cried out with regret for leaving Egypt and lost faith in G-d. HaShem declared they were forbidden to enter Israel and they wandered the desert for 40 years.

The destruction of both the first and second (Bet Hamikdosh) temples were destroyed on the 9th of Av, 655 years apart. The first was destroyed by Persian King Nebuchadnezzar, whose story can be found in the Book of Esther. The second temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, exiling the Jewish people from Israel.

On 135 CE, Bar Kokhba’s revolt ended in a terrible massacre of 500,000 Jewish deaths and left the entire city of Betar destroyed.

During the Crusade, 10,000 Jews were killed and their cities were destroyed. The First Crusade was on the 9th of Av.

Jews were expelled and persecuted from England, France and Spain on the 9-10th of Av all hundreds of years apart.

Germany entered WWI on the 9th of Av, which led to the beginning of the social decline and poor treatment of European Jews.

Hitler’s “Final Solution” was approved on the 9th of Av in 1941 during WWII which led to the Jews of Europe being abused, shamed, put into ghettos and eventually the horrifying concentration camps. The Holocaust killed 6,000,000 Jews, nearly one third of the Jewish population.