Tuesday, December 14, 2010

10th of Tevet or December 17
Sadness in Jewish History

We're had so much sadness in our history that we have fast days in remembrance. One is coming up on December 17th this year. It's to remember the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II (634-562 BCE) , King of Babylon and the beginning of the battle that destroyed Jerusalem and the first Temple of Solomon. This was when he conquered Judah which is in Southern Israel. This is the same king that had the Hanging Gardens of Babylon constructed.

The prophet Yechezkel was in Babylon, brought there in the first exile by the king. Eleven years later more Jews were exiled for a period of 70 years. Yechezkel is the author of the descriptive writings about this event. This makes me wonder as to who the people could have been who created those hanging gardens. It's possible that Jews could have been the workers.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, we also wept, when we remembered Zion. We hung our lyres on the willows in its midst. For there those who carried us away captive required of us a song; and those who tormented us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember you, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy. (Psalms 137:1-6) This may be how Jews first used humor and even singing when terrible things have happened.
When Israel was reborn in 1948, Israelis found Jews coming from Iraq that could trace their family tree back to the exile in Babylon.

This is the historical reason for the fast. Today it also takes in the holocaust, though we do have another day for that, but the holocaust was so terribly destructive, that we have incorporated our grieving into this day, also.
This also shows that we have been able to keep records for a very long time. Unlike the Egyptians, who always recorded good events and erased anything detrimental to them, Jews have recorded the good with the bad. Our record-keeping shows our history in Jerusalem. At a time when Arabs are denying that we have any connection with Jerusalem, all they have to do is to read our sacred book and see that it is part and parcel of us. After all the years of being denied our city, we are back.


No comments: