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Thursday, September 28, 2023 - 13 Tishrei 5784
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This week, on the 10th of the month of Tevet, we mark the siege of Jerusalem that began in the year 3335 (425 BCE), which led to the destruction of the first Holy Temple. Tevet is the tenth Hebrew calendar month, as is written in Megillat Esther (2:16): "In the tenth month, which was the month of Tevet."

The number 10 is also associated with the future Redemption in a number of aspects. When the Geulah comes we will sing a song of praise, the 10th of a series sung by the Jewish people. We will be purified with the ashes of the Red Heifer, the 10th Red Heifer to be slaughtered in history. We will dwell in the complete land of Israel as promised by G-d to Abraham, which will extend over the territory of ten nations. Our sages also relate that in the Temple they will play music on a harp with ten strings (as described by King David in Psalm 33).

If the number 10 is associated with Redemption, what is the significance of the fact that the events leading to the exile began on the tenth day of the tenth month? Our sages explain that the exile is part of a process leading to the Redemption. True, at this time it is difficult to see how the suffering in exile is leading us to Redemption; however, in the future we will not only realize this, we will thank G-d for it, as the verse in Isaiah states (12:1): "On that day You will say, I thank You, G-d, for You have been angry with me." The fact that the process of exile began on the 10th day of the 10th month alludes to the fact that the seeds of Redemption were planted at the same time.

The month of Tevet is described by our sages as “the month that the body derives pleasure from the body.” Being that the weather is cold, people tend to huddle together for warmth. But Chassidic teachings explain that this is also a reference to the unity between the “supernal body,” G-d, and the body below – the Jewish people. During a time of spiritual chill, G-d derives special pleasure from the fire and warmth of our observance of Torah and mitzvot. This pleasure hastens the revelation of the Redemption.

Another significant date in Tevet is the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Schneur Zalmen, the founder of Chabad Chassidut, on 24 Tevet. The word Chabad is an acronym of the words Chochmah, Binah and Daat (Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge). Intellect is be a cold, unemotional faculty,  but Chabad teaches us how to infuse the rational soul with love and enthusiasm for mitzvot. With this fusion of soul and intellect we will be released of our aloofness and proceed directly to the Redemption.


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