Fast of Gedaliah


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Gedaliah, Fast of (Tsom Gedalyah, Tzom Gedaliahu)

Between September 8 and October 6; Tishri 3 (first day following Rosh Hashanah)
Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, destroyed Jerusalem and the First Temple and carried away most of the Jews into slavery in 586 b.c.e. But he left behind a few farmers and families under the supervision of a Jewish governor named Gedaliah ben Ahikam to clean up after the army and to administer affairs in the devastated land. Eventually some Jews who had managed to hide out in the hills came back to the area and joined the thousand or so who had been left behind.
Things progressed well until a few hot-headed traitors, who accused Gedaliah of collaborating with the enemy, murdered him and the small garrison of soldiers Nebuchadnezzar had stationed there. Many of the farmers took their families and fled in terror to Egypt; the rest were either killed or taken to Babylon, bringing about Judah's final collapse. The Fast of Gedaliah commemorates the man who was assassinated at a time when he was needed most.
SOURCES:
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 245
OxYear-1999, p. 726
RelHolCal-2004, p. 53