The 10th of Tebet is a fast day on which we say additional selihot in our
prayers in order to remember the sad events that took place in the Temple
Era during this time of year. Tzidkiyahu, the last king from the family of
King David ruled over the Kingdom of Yehudah. The Temple stood in its
glory in Yerushalayim, a bustling metropolis full of an active populous.
Yirmiyahu, the prophet, went from place to place throughout the city
begging people to make repentance and return Kedushah -- holiness -- to
their lives. He said that if the people refused to heed Hashem's warnings -
- the results would be disastrous. The people ignored the holy messenger
and some even made fun of him. Nevuzardan, a high officer of King
Nebuchadnezar, came with many battalions and laid siege to our holy
capital. The siege began on the 10th of Tebet and resulted in the
destruction of the Bet Hamikdash 2 1/2 years later.
The purpose of fasting almost 2500 years after the events of the
destruction took place is to awaken our hearts today to repentance. Our
sages teach that anyone who lives at a time when there is no Bet Hamikdash
must realize that had he or she lived when the Temple stood that his or
her behavior would contribute to its destruction. Should we mend our ways
and remove from our lives the behavior that brings destruction we will
bring about the construction of the third Temple -- the one that will
never be destroyed -- and the coming of Mashiah speedily in our days. May
we all spend the day productively contributing to that end -- Amen.