On the 10th of Tevet, Nevuchadnezzar King of Babylonian started a siege on Jerusalem. From that day no one was allowed to enter or exit the holy city. As a result of the siege, which lasted for the next year and a half, and the famine that followed it, many people died in the holy city of Jerusalem.
The Megilat Eicha (Book of Lamentations), which describes the era of the siege on Jerusalem and the destruction of the Holy Temple that followed it, expresses in great detail the horrors which befell the Jews in Jerusalem under the siege. Jerusalem’s streets on those horrible days were filled with dead bodies of children and adults who starved to death.
The siege came to its bitter ending on the 17th of Tamuz when Nevuchadnezzar broke through the walls surrounding Jerusalem. The war was concluded with the tragic destruction of the Holy Temple on the 9th of Av and the exile of the Jewish people to Babylon.
The 10th of Tevet, which is the date that marks the beginning of the siege, was what eventually led to the destruction of the Holy Temple. This date was declared a fast day and a day of mourning in Jewish tradition.
The fast of the 10th of Tevet is a day which represents the Jewish nation’s mourning and grieving of not only this specific tragedy but rather the mourning of all tragedies which befell the Jewish nation over the years. In fact, after the dark days of the holocaust the Rabanut declared the 10th of Tevet the Yom HaKadish HaClali- the day of general mourning for all Jews who were murdered and their death day is unknown.
Besides fasting, many people find it most appropriate to visit the Western wall on the 10th of Tevet as this site is the only existing remnant of the Holy Temple. When standing at the holy Western Wall on such a meaningful date one can more easily connect to the feelings of sorrow within his soul and join the collective prayer for the speedy reconstruction of the Holy Temple.