Battling the Siege-Imrei Yosef-With Sanctity
“When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them? However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls (Deuteronomy 20:19-20).”
When you lay siege to your physical desires in preparation for Teshuva, “do not destroy its trees,” don’t hurt yourself by fasting too much or making yourself suffer. “Because you can eat their fruit,” because it is only by mastering this world that you can expand your portion in the World-to-Come. (Imrei Yosef: Shofetim)
We can prepare for the siege of the Tenth of Tevet by preparing to do Teshuva, by using the pleasures of this world in the proper way; in our service of God. Use all physical pleasures during this time of preparation with joy in that God gave us these pleasures to become close to Him.