Thursday, December 12, 2013

Asarah B’Teives – Different than other Fasts? by Rabbi Yair Hoffman

5 Towns Jewish Times    Rav Yoseph Karo (Bais Yoseph 550) cites the view of the Avudraham that the fast of Asara b’Taives is different than all of the other fasts.  How so?  If Asarah b’Taives were to fall on Shabbos (which it doesn’t), it would not be pushed off to another day.  It would have to be observed on the Shabbos itself.

Why would this be the case?

The Avudraham explains that it is on account of a verse found in Sefer Yechezkel (24:2), “On that very day..”  which equates it to Yom Kippur.   Rav Karo states that he does not know from where the Avudraham derived this .  Rav Karo further notes that the tenth of Taives will at times fall on a Friday, but none of the other fasts ever do.  In Shulchan Aruch itself (550) Rav Karo rules that none of the four fasts set aside Shabbos[1], but we will deal with the view of the Avudraham in this essay.
We must also try to understand why it is, according to the Avudraham, that Asrah B’Taives is different than the other fasts, and why the Avudraham chose to state this difference regarding Shabbos when he himself writes that it never actually falls on Shabbos!
Also, notwithstanding that the fast appears in Tanach – at the end of the day, it is a Rabbinic enactment.  Oneg Shabbos, enjoying ourselves on the Shabbos, is according to most Poskim – a Torah obligation!  Why would Asarah b’Taives set Shabbos aside?


Ultimately, of course, the halacha is not like the Avudraham.  However, we can still derive remarkable insight and inspiration from all four of the explanations to his words.  We should contemplate the words of the Yaaros Dvash that Asarah B’Taives encompasses all three tragedies.

We can be inspired from the fact that, according to both the Yaaros Dvash and the Bnei Yissasschar, beginnings do matter and they matter enormously.  They carry within them messages of tremendous import.

The idea that the Chsam Sofer presents of Asarah B’Teives being unique in that it is an opportunity to change the course of our future is also something that should be welcomed.  Finally, one can also learn much from the opinions of the Minchas Chinuch and Rav Soloveitchiks that the fast days are indeed very weighty, and at least according to their view, they would even set aside the Shabbos itself were it not for other factors.

We should utilize all of these explanations to help add vitality to our observance of the fast days in general and Asarah B’Taives specifically.

1 comment :

  1. The best and simplest explanation I heard is that the 10th of Teves is the only (excluding Yom Kippur) fast the day of which is actually stated explicitly in Tanach.


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