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The Revolutionary Vision of the Tenth of Tevet

Throughout all the long years of exile, the Tenth of Tevet has been a day of fasting, the day on which the siege of Jerusalem began. But as we approach the redemption, this day is about to completely change. “The fast of the tenth will transform into a day of joy!”[1]

How does the fast itself transform into joy? Can we take the picture of the siege and turn it into something that brings us happiness?

A Positive Siege

The invaders come to Jerusalem and place a siege upon it. They know very well that Jerusalem is an important place. They desire the treasures hidden there. But if we can change the soundtrack, we can transform this entire picture: This is exactly what the prophets describe: “And it will be at the end of days, the mountain of the house of God will be established at the top of the mountains…and all the nations will stream to it. And many nations will go and say ‘Let us ascend to the mountain of God…and they will teach us of its ways and we will walk on its paths, for from Zion will Torah come forth, and the word of God from Jerusalem.”[2] There are wondrous treasures in Jerusalem. It is the site of the Holy Temple, the place where the entire world worships God. It is the home of the King Mashiach, to whom all come to hear his wisdom and to walk in his path. This is a description of a positive siege, in which everyone congregates in Jerusalem and expects to hear God’s word. Note that “for from Zion will Torah come forth” is not referring to the Torah that emanates to the Nation of Israel. That is already well-known. This verse refers to the Torah that emanates from Zion to all peoples of the earth, to all those who wish to walk in God’s ways.

Torah for the Nations

Nonetheless, something here is still not understandable. We are used to the fact that the Torah belongs to the Nation of Israel, as we say in the blessings on the Torah “Who chose us from all the nations and gave us His Torah.” The Torah was given to the Jews, and not to others.

Moreover, it seems that the sages did not approve of the Torah reaching the hands of the nations of the world. This refers to an additional date in the month of Tevet, the 8th of Tevet. The 8th of Tevet is considered a difficult day because it is the day that the Torah was translated into Greek and the world became dark for three days (Shulchan Aruch). It would seem that the Torah is supposed to remain exclusively for the Jewish People – a secret that should not be revealed to others. If so, how can the Torah emanate from Zion to all the nations?

The answer is that it all depends on the timing and the context. On how the Torah reaches the nations of the world. The translation of the Torah to Greek, thousands of years ago, was done to ‘steal’ the Torah from the Jewish People and to give it to the wise men of the nations and enable them to read it as any other text – and to explain it as per their understanding. They did not intend to relate to it as a holy book that expresses God’s will and wisdom, but rather as something of historical and cultural interest. Another book on the shelf…

The prophets speak of something completely different. First, they remind us that as the children of Abraham, Jewish destiny is to bring faith to the entire world. The Torah given to Moses on Mount Sinai is the home of the truth that has to reach all of humanity.

The prophets also say that it is true that for many generations, the universal side of the Torah was relatively concealed. The world was not ready to accept it. But the time will come – and it is rapidly approaching – when the nations of the world will come to the Nation of Israel and say, “It is only falsehood that our forefathers inherited, vapor that is useless.”[3]  Many people of all religions or lack thereof are recognizing the need to go to the true source, the Torah of Moses. Not to translate it to ‘secular’ jargon, but to come and become acquainted with its Divine truth and beauty.  At the pinnacle of this wondrous process are the converts, who take another step forward and join the Nation of Israel. Welcome!

Does this sound revolutionary? It is the revolution that we are all waiting for. Millions of people around the world are waiting to hear about it. All that the Jews have to do is to make it heard.


[1] Zechariah 8:19.

[2] Isaiah 2:2-3.

[3] Jeremiah 16:19.


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