Continuing our journey into the Apocrypha, we explore the mysterious books of Ben Sira and the Maccabees. Along the way, we uncover what really happened with King Ptolemy and the 72 Sages who produced the Septuagint, where the name of the continent “Africa” came from, the origin of the ancient holiday called Yom Nicanor, and the true identity of the first rabbi, Shimon haTzadik.
Today we mark one of the “minor” fast days of the Jewish calendar: Asarah b’Tevet, the Tenth of Tevet. Technically, in ancient times there were three separate fasts instituted on the eighth, ninth, and tenth days of Tevet. However, because fasting three days in a row is not practical for most people, the three were combined into a single day. None of this is coincidence, of course, and there is a profound connection between the “three” fasts. First, a recap: what does each of these fasts commemorate?