Tisha B’av & The 3 Weeks

The Fast of the Tenth of Tevet — Question and Answers

Hello Rabbi,

What is the reason for the fast of the Tenth of Tevet, and what is forbidden to do on a fast day?

The fast was ordained because on this day, the walls of Jerusalem was breached, which led to the Destruction of the Holy Temple and the beginning of the Jewish people’s exile. We may not eat and drink on the Tenth of Teves, but it is permitted to bathe. A patient is forbidden to fast on this day.

I am a Capricorn born on the tenth of Tevet. This is not a very happy day, and as we all know, it is a fast day. That means that it is out of the question to celebrate my birthday on it. So when should I celebrate my birthday, and what is this date supposed to tell us in general?

There is no problem with celebrating your birthday on the night after the Tenth of Tevet. If you are worried that being born on this day means you’ll have bad luck, realize that Jewish life and destiny are not affected by the zodiac. We are apportioned everything each year according to our actions and heavenly calculations from previous reincarnations. Divine Providence zeroes in on you individually, and not generally, as is the case for other nations.

Besides that, the Torah commands us to “go wholeheartedly with the Lord your G-d”, which means that one should accept his lot with love. G-d commanded Abraham to ignore astrology, and our sages say that even though according to the zodiac, Abraham wasn’t slated to have a son, G-d told him, “You are above nature — and I will give you a son.” The Jewish people is not governed by the zodiac and our entire existence in the world, as sons of Abraham, is supernatural.

Today is the tenth of Tevet. I got up in the morning, and without realizing it, I washed my face, and even gargled with water (not to drink but just to clean out my mouth). Is that considered breaking the fast? Should I continue fasting? (I didn’t swallow the water.)

This is not considered breaking the fast, and therefore you should continue fasting. There is no need to undertake another day of fasting.

Answers were provided by Rabbi Menashe Israel and Rabbi Benjamin Shmueli, and were compiled and edited from the question and answer section of Hidabroot’s web site.

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