A Shabbat table with 240 empty seats, representing the 240 civilians held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, at the "Hostages' Square" outside Israeli Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, Nov. 13, 2023. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
A group of Israeli Zionist Orthodox rabbis which aims to bridge the gaps between religious and secular Jews is calling for an upcoming Jewish fast day to serve as a national day of prayer, mourning and good deeds in light of the war with Hamas in Gaza.
The Tzohar Rabbinical Organization noted that observant soldiers on operational duty are not obligated to observe the Tenth of Tevet fast day, which is marked Friday and is named for the Hebrew month.
The fast day marks the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia that ultimately culminated in the destruction of the First Temple, downfall of the Kingdom of Judah and the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people. It has also been allocated as the general day of mourning for those murdered in the Holocaust and whose date of death is not known.
“At this very moment our soldiers are fighting in defense of our land in Gaza and on the other fronts,” said Tzohar’s Rabbi David Stav. “We also encourage people to embrace this General Day of Kaddish [Jewish mourning prayer] in memory of those killed in the brutal attack and ensure that kaddish is being recited for all those who fell in the name of our country and people.”
Special prayer services will also be held at the Western Wall during the fast, which begins before dawn on Friday and lasts until Friday evening.