From Bnai David-Judea:
Tuesday, January 6th will be the
fast of the 10th of Tevet
The fast of the 10th of Tevet commemorates the day on which the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem, leading to the eventual destruction in 586 B.C.E. This fast (along with the 17th of Tammuz, Tisha B’Av and T’zom Gedalia) were actually suspended during the Second Temple period, but were volitionally reaccepted by the community of Israel at some point following the second destruction in 70 C.E. This was motivated by the general state of physical insecurity that the Jewish people faced on a continuous basis. We mark the tenth of Tevet with special inclusions in davening. At Shacharit (6:30am) we include Selichot, Avinu Malkeynu and Torah reading and at Mincha (4:00pm) we include a Haftarah reading as well.
Our volitional acceptance of fasting on the 10th of Tevet, was never intended to oblige the sick. In this context, “sick” doesn’t refer to there being a potential threat to life, as the term is defined relative to Yom Kippur. Rather, if a person is sick enough to be spending the day in bed, that person is exempt from fasting on the 10th of Tevet. Women who are pregnant and nursing are also exempt, though the custom is that they make the effort to fast as well. Children, who are old enough to understand this fast day, should refrain from dessert and treats, eating only the meals themselves.
It is important to remember that although we call the day a “fast day”, it is just as much about tzedaka and teshuva as it is about fasting.
Tuesday – Fast begins: 5:41 AM
Mincha/Ma’ariv – 4:30 PM
Fast ends: 5:26 PM