- TEVET (Heb. טֵבֵת), the post-Exilic name of the tenth month of the Jewish year. Mentioned in Esther 2:16, in Josephus' Antiquities (11:148), and frequently in rabbinic literature (e.g., Megillat Ta'anit), it is linked with the Assyrian-Babylonian tebetum. The root of the name is possibly related to tava (Heb. טבע, "to dip" or "to sink"), Tevet being the month of "sinking in" or "the muddy month," because of its abundant rainfall. The zodiacal sign of this month is Capricorn. In the present fixed Jewish calendar it invariably consists of 29 days, 1st of Tevet never falling on Thursday or the Sabbath (see calendar ). In the 20th century, Tevet, in its earliest occurrence, extended from December 4th to January 1st, and in its latest, from January 2nd to the 30th. Apart from the last two or three days of the festival of Ḥanukkah coinciding with 1st–2nd or 1st–3rd of Tevet, and 28th of Tevet, commemorating the pharisee s' success in ousting their Sadducean opponents from the Sanhedrin (Meg. Ta'an. 342–43), all the historical days in Tevet are fasts: (1) 5th of Tevet, when the report of the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar reached the Judean exiles in Babylonia (Ezek. 33:21); and, according to an antiquated tannaitic view (RH 18b; and see below), the "fast in the tenth month" (Zech. 8:19); (2) 8th of Tevet, marking the completion of the septuagint , an event regarded as fateful as the construction of the golden calf in the wilderness (Sof. 1:7; Meg. Ta'an. 13); (3) 9th of Tevet, the reason for this fast being suppressed in the oldest sources. According to later sources, Ezra and Nehemiah died on that day (Kol Bo, Fuerth ed. (1782), 52c no. 63). It is also said to have coincided with dies natalis in 3761 A.M. (on the basis of a calculation in Abraham b. Ḥiyya's Sefer ha-Ibbur, ed. by H. Filipowski, (1851) 109); (4) 10th of Tevet, commemorating the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 42:4, et al.), the "fast in the tenth month," according to the accepted talmudic view (RH 18b, et al.). This fast can never fall on the Sabbath (contrary to JE 12 (1905), 72). (Ephraim Jehudah Wiesenberg)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.