the tenth of tevet: a fouling of letters

In Likkutei Halachoth (Hilchot Keriath Shema:5 (I think it's halachah 5)) Rebbe Natan explains a little bit about the nature of the three reasons we mourn today on the 10th of Tevet.
  1. Ezra HaSofer died
  2. The Torah was translated to Greek
  3. The siege on Yerushalayim (that lead to the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash) began
He explains that Ezra HaSofer was able to form the letters of the Torah in such a way that all of Israel could derive endless berachah from reading the letters. After Ezra HaSofer there was no one who could form the letters in the same manner as he. That's why he is forever known as 'the scribe' - haSofer.

When the Torah was translated to Greek it was a very dark day for us because it was the exact opposite of what Ezra HaSofer had done. It was a formulation of the letters of the Torah such that all the darkest and lowest elements could also receive blessing from the letters and words of Torah. This gave them the ability to bring the darkness of their shallow and physicality-absorbed culture to the masses and to muddle the light of the true Torah of Bnei Yisrael. It also tainted Bnei Yisrael and tempted and involved and confused them with the darkness of the Greek culture.

Lastly, when the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed, it was a further hiding and cutting off of the blessings of Shamayim.


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