Tenth of Tevet III
“They that trust in God shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abides forever. Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains, and God surrounds His nation, from now and forever.” (Psalms 125:1-2)
From the day that the Temple was destroyed, it was decreed that the houses of the righteous men should also be destroyed, as it is said, “In My ears, says the Lord of Hosts, Of a truth many houses of the great and fair shall be desolate, without inhabitant.” (Isaiah 5:9) Rabi Yochanan added, however,: The Holy One, Blessed is He, will restore their houses, as is said, “A Song of Ascents. They that trust in God shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abides forever.” That is, as the Holy One, Blessed is He, will restore Mount Zion, so the Holy One, Blessed is He, will restore the houses of the righteous men. (Midrash Tehillim 125:1)
Mount Zion is the preeminent mountain that stands guard over Jerusalem. The houses of the righteous are compared to Mount Zion. This teaches us that just as Jerusalem is surrounded and protected by mountains, so too is Israel surrounded and protected by the homes of the righteous, the places they build where we can find truth and good.
When the Babylonians surrounded Jerusalem on the Tenth of Tevet to lay siege, all the people in the city were vulnerable, the righteous as well. They lost their ability to protect Israel.
However, they too possess the quality of “cannot be removed,” and maintain their potential to protect and nourish Israel.
When we lose our appreciation of the protection we are afforded by the houses of the righteous we are reenacting the loss of Jerusalem’s protective circle of mountains.
Make an effort on the Tenth of Tevet to spend time in the home of a righteous person and experience the protection it affords.