Beginning of the End
“And it was in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth (day) of the month, that Nebuchadnetzar, King of Babylon came, he and all his hosts, upon Jerusalem, and he encamped upon it and built forts around it. And the city came under siege till the eleventh year of King Tzidkiyahu. On the ninth of the month famine was intense in the city, the people bad no bread, and the city was breached” (Second Kings 25)
The Temple that King Solomon had built was standing for about 400 years when in 588 BCE the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar, initiated a siege of Jerusalem. The siege started on the Hebrew date of 10 Tevet and it would take another 30 months for the walls to be breached and ultimately the Temple destroyed.
Each year on 10 Tevet we mark this day by fasting, mourning and repenting.
Why do we mourn on this day?
It is because this day is the beginning of the unfolding of a whole chain of event that would have catastrophic consequences. It was the beginning of the end of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel and the eventual destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple.
Nothing “just happens.” There is always a catalyst that brought you to where you are now. Sometimes we look back with great joy at the long road and appreciate all the necessary steps it took. There is a sense of satisfaction at the effort that we put in to get us where we are today.
Then there are times that we look back at missed opportunities, moments that could have been a beginning of something great but we let them slip by. It can be frustrating and depressing.
In addition to the fasting and mourning, this day reminds us that we must see life as a journey and recognize that each day has the potential to lead us to the place where we really want to go. Don’t take any day for granted. Cherish each moment and make it count---it could be the moment that you will one day look back and feel great satisfaction that you started your journey!