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Friday, 14 August 2020
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House of David
The fast of Gedaliah, on the third of Tishrei, was established to commemorate the assassination of Gedaliah ben Ahikam, the last governor of the independent Land of Israel after the destruction of the Holy Temple. His passing marked the effective end of Jewish self-government in the Land of Israel and a shift of its population to the diaspora.

According to some accounts, Gedaliah was not murdered on the 3rd of Tishrei but on Rosh Hashanah. The fast was set for the following day because it is forbidden to fast on Rosh Hashanah.

When the fast of the 9th of Av falls on Shabbat and is pushed off for the next day, our sages use the expression, “Since it was deferred, let it be deferred [entirely].” In other words, if the fast is cancelled for one day, let it be cancelled permanently, with the full and complete Redemption. According to this reasoning, the fast of Gedaliah, which was deferred from the outset, symbolizes the potential to be completely nullified with the Redemption.

Even the event that brought about the fast of Gedaliah is associated in some sense with the Redemption. Gedaliah was murdered by someone named Ishmael ben Netania, of the house of David. According to commentators, his ancestry is what led him to commit the crime. He resented the fact that Gedaliah was chosen to serve as governor rather than he, from the house of David. His jealousy was so great that it led him to take Gedaliah’s life.

When Moshiach comes, the fast of Gedaliah, like all other fasts commemorating the destruction, will become a holiday. Gedaliah’s murderer was motivated by a desire to restore the House of David to the throne. This desire will be transformed to its positive origin with the revelation of Moshiach, son of David, speedily in our days.

(From a talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, King Moshiach, Fast of Gedaliah 5771)

 

 


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