Tevet is the tenth month of the biblical calendar year. The name "Tevet" is the Babylonian name of the month. In the Bible, it is referred to both as "the tenth month" as well as "Tevet," as in Esther 2:16, "And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal palace in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth..."
As we enter the month of Tevet, we are approaching the end of the celebration of Hanukkah. For the first few days of the month, we are reminded of the victory in the days of the Maccabees.
But as Hanukkah comes to a close and the menorahs are put away for the year, we continue on through a month that also commemorates tragedy and loss. One probable event that occurred during the month of Tevet was the martyrdom of the Apostle Peter at the hands of the Roman government on 9 Tevet. This date comes from tradition preserved rabbinic literature.1
On the next day, 10 Tevet, a traditional fast day is observed in the Jewish community. The fast of 10 Tevet commemorates the siege that began against Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, recorded in 2 Kings 25. This siege ultimately ended with the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the people of Judah. Thus, this fast is identified as the fast of the tenth month spoken of in Zechariah 8:19.
With all the tragedy associated with this month, perhaps this is the reason the month starts with the end of Hanukkah. In this world, we will face many tribulations. Some will be due to our sin (like the destruction of the Temple), and others will be persecution for the sake of righteousness (like Simon Peter's martyrdom). But, these situations do not have the final word. God will grant the ultimate victory to his faithful ones. As we face the trials and difficulties of life, may we not lose sight of the prize that we have in our Master Yeshua the Messiah.
1. See Rabbi Baruch Frankel Teomim on Orach Chaim, 580.