Asara b'Tevet

General Notes

Asara b'Tevet commemorates the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia's siege on Jerusalem. This siege led to the capture of Jerusalem and the destruction of the first Temple.

This is a minor fast day. For those who choose to fast, the fast begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. Many liberal Jews do not fast on the three minor fast days: Shiva Asar b'Tammuz, Asara b'Tevet, and Tzom Gedaliah. Rabbi David Golinkin has written a responsum on this matter; he concludes that these three fast days should be considered optional, in recognition of the redemptive possibilities of the rebirth of the State of Israel. We should, however, fast on Tish'a b'Av, in order to acknowledge that we are still far from peace. See Golinkin, David. "Should We Continue to Fast on Tisha B'Av and the Other Three Fasts Which Commemorate the Destruction of the Temple?" Responsa in a Moment 4, no.7 (2010). The full text of this responsum can be found at:

Shacharit Torah Reading 

Exodus 32:11-14 (P 647, RP 588, WTC 503), 34:1-10 (P 658, RP 593, WTC 509)

3 Aliyot

Shacharit Torah Reading Notes

There is a special custom regarding the chanting of the following:

o   32:12 ("Shuv mei'charon . . . l'amecha")

o   34:6-7 ("Adonai Adonai . . . v'nakei")

o   34:9 ("v'salachta . . . u'n'chaltanu")

When the reader reaches these verses, the congregation recites the verses first. The reader then repeats them in High Holy Day cantillation. The rest of the portion is read in regular Torah cantillation.

Mincha Notes

We include a Torah service (MT 104) after the Chatzi Kaddish (MT 57). The afternoon reading is the same as the morning reading.

After the Torah reading, we read the Haftarah for public fast days. When we recite the Amidah on fast days, we replace Shalom Rav with Sim Shalom.

Mincha Torah Reading

Exodus 32:11-14 (P 647, RP 588, WTC 503), 34:1-10 (P 658, RP 593, WTC 509)

3 Aliyot

Mincha Haftarah Reading

Isaiah 55:6-56:8 (P 1681, RP 1489)