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Jewish Holidays

Haftarah Helper: Fast Days

Download PDF Isaiah 55:6–56:8 Ashkenazim read this Haftarah at Mincha on all fast days except for Yom Kippur.  (Sepharadim generally recite no Haftarah on these days.) This is done to encourage the giving of charity, which the Talmud deems the most important aspect of fast days: Tosafot on Megillah 21a-  s.v. “One who Reads” תוספות […]

Asara B’tevet: “On That Very Day….”

December 18, 2018, by

When it comes to the day the walls were breached we commemorate only the date for the second Beit HaMikdash (17 Tammuz). When it comes to the siege, why do we only commemorate when it occurred during the time of the first Beit HaMikdash? Why does the Navi call the fasts not by the day […]

Why Fast for Events of the Past: A Halacha-Based Shiur

December 11, 2018, by

When commemorating loss, we use the halachic system of aveilut, mourning. Fasting is not part of that system, yet when it comes to the four days associated with the loss of the Beit HaMikdash, we don’t only mourn, we fast! Why? We also see, from Zechariah that in the future, when the Beit HaMikdash is […]

Chodesh Tevet: A Trilogy of Tragedy

December 11, 2018, by

Besides the siege of Yerushalayim, two other events occurred in Tevet – the translation of the Torah into Greek and the death of Ezra HaSofer. Why do we fast for Ezra and nobody else and what was the tragedy of the translation of the Torah – Yehoshua translated the Torah into 70 languages? Is there […]

The Deeper Messages of Asara B’Tevet

December 11, 2018, by

There is no break between Vayigash and Vayechi, Rashi describes it as a closed Parsha, because of the “closure” (emotional/spiritual) Bnei Yisrael felt when Yaakov died. Why describe the feeling as “closed”? The three reasons we fast on Asara B’Tevet are 1) because the Torah was translated into Greek, Ezra passed away, and because siege […]