Its Hebrew name is Tzom Gedaliah (Fast of Gedaliah). It is also known in prophetic writings as "the fast of the seventh" (Possibly in reference to the 7th month of Tishri).
2 Kings 25:25; Jeremiah Chapter 41 (Possibly Zechariah 8:19).
This is an annual fast day that was started to remember a former Governor of Israel. His name was Gedaliah Ben Achikam. He was Governor at the same time Nebuchadnezzar was King of Babylonia. The fast is usually observed from sunrise until sunset.
This fast day comes immediately after the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. On the Hebrew calendar it would be on the 3rd day of Tishri. The King of Ammon sent an assassin named Yishmael Ben Netaniah to kill this Jewish Governor Gedaliah whom many Jews thought was a good man. He had been appointed by Nebuchadnezzar to be in charge of the small remaining remnant left behind after his successful trashing of the temple and carrying off Israel into Babylon. Even though the Governor was tipped off about the plot to murder him, he refused to believe because the assassin was Jewish. Not only was the Governor killed but many others at the time. This caused the remaining Jews to flee and is considered by some to be the final event that led the Jews into exile. Some believe that the murder took place on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, but the fast was postponed because fasting on Rosh Hashanah is prohibited.
Prayer should always be part of a Fast Day.
Here we fast because of what one of our own fellow Jews did to us.
This holiday marks for some the final event that caused the exile.
When Rosh Hashanah falls on Thursday and Friday, the fast is postponed until Sunday, because public fasts cannot be observed on Shabbat with the exception of Yom Kippur.
This is a fast day because of what one Jewish person did to another. While not directly associated with Jesus, let us remember that it was Judas, a Jewish disciple, who betrayed Jesus at the last supper in fulfillment of Psalm 41:9.
Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:16-18).
Could be a good time to have a light fast and then in the evening break the fast with some Jewish friends. A conversation could be struck about the exile and captivity. This could be a good opportunity to discuss the regathering of Jews from the four corners of the world in toady's times or/and Daniel's 9th chapter. Daniel is good because he realizes the captivity is about to end and predicts the date the Messiah will come.
For a list of future holidays dates check the Master Calendar Table.
If you know of someone fasting on this day, one of the appropriate greetings would be "I hope you have an easy fast" (Tzome Khal). From another perspective, a new greeting, "I hope you don't have an easy fast" is emerging. The thinking behind this greeting is that the fast should not be easy but challenging, so that it can serve its purpose (of reminding us that we are dependant upon God) to the fullest.
The events are described in the bible in chapters 40-41 of the Book of Jeremiah and chapter 25 of the Book of Kings II: “But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Yishmael the son of Netanya, the son of Elishama, of the royal seed, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedalia, that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldeans that were with him at Mitzpah. And all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the forces, arose, and came to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chaldeans. [25:25-26]
The King of Ammon, Baalis, dispatched Yishmael ben Netanya, a Jew, to kill Gedalia - goading him on by telling him that he had been passed over by a commoner for the position of local ruler. Yishmael was received by Gedalia in the town of Mitzpa despite prior warnings of Yishmael's evil intent. Gedalia considered the reports slanderous and therefore took no precautions. Gedalia was then murdered by Yishmael and his men. Fearing reprisals, most of the Jews then fled to Egypt.
The Talmudic Tractate Rosh Hashanah equates Gedalia’s murder with the destruction of the Holy Temple, citing the fact that fasts were instituted to commemorate both events.
Find out more about Fast Days observed in the Jewish Religion:
Information from The Biblical And Historical Background Of The Jewish Holy Days, by Abraham P. Bloch is copyrighted material and was used with permission of the publisher. KTAV Publishing, 900 Jefferson Street. box 6249, Hoboken, NJ 07030-0102
Some reference was provided with permission from the www.ou.org