Asarah B'TevesBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
G-d spoke to Ezekiel in the ninth year of King Tzidkiyahu, on the tenth day of the tenth month (the 10th of Teves). He told Ezekiel to make special note of the day, as that’s the day Nebuchadnezzar began the siege of Jerusalem. Ezekiel was told to relate a parable of a cooking pot, full of choice pieces of meat, which has been set to boil. G-d says woe to Jerusalem, symbolized by the pot, whose filth will be boiled out of her in stages. They didn’t even try to conceal their guilt; they left the blood exposed and didn’t even cover it as one does the blood of a slaughtered animal. (Rashi relates this to the Talmud in Gittin 57b, which describes the seething blood of the murdered prophet Zechariah.) G-d says that He will fan the fire under the pot, piling on firewood, making it so hot that even the bones will be burned. The contents of the pot will be consumed, but the pot will continue to be heated, to remove the absorbed impurities.
The people committed their evil with subterfuge; they will be purified through fire. Since the people refused to be cleansed, G-d is left no choice but to purge them of their impurities, as one does a non-kosher pot. G-d has decided this and He will not change His mind.
G-d spoke again to Ezekiel and told him that his wife was going to die from the plague. However, Ezekiel was not permitted to mourn her. Instead, he was instructed to suffer in silence. He was to continue to wear tefillin and shoes, and not to eat meals sent him by neighbors. Ezekiel’s wife died at night and everyone saw that he was still going about his regular business the next morning, as if nothing had happened. They asked him why he wasn’t sitting shiva and he replied that what happened to him was a microcosm of what would happen to Jerusalem. G-d would destroy His own Temple, the strength and pride of the nation, and their children would fall to the enemy sword. But they are to do as Ezekiel is doing, not observing the normal mourning procedures. This is because every single one of them would be a mourner – there would be absolutely nobody to console them.
On the day when all this happens, when the Temple is destroyed and the people bereaved of their children, the people will finally believe Ezekiel’s prophecies. He will then be able to rebuke them, because they will see that he speaks for G-d.