Why Fast??

We live today in a world of experts where all answers can be found with a push of a button – and yet somehow it doesn’t satisfy.

I’ve been fasting for the 17 of Tammuz for years, even though it is considered a “minor” fast. And every year I look up to find out why we fast so it would be more meaningful. And to be totally honest, the historical context doesn’t do it for me but for those who are curious, as always google can supply you with a few. This is from one: “this is a day of reflection on sorrow and misfortune, on the destruction of the Temple and other historical horrors” from http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/9714/17th-of-tammuz-a-guide-for-the-perplexed

As mentioned in that article and others, our history is over filled with enemies who have done us great injustices. It is said we need to remember history in order for it not to happen again. I’m not sure why this doesn’t prove true, as we are a People of Great Remembering.

Some say we need to remember so we can turn our hearts to G-d and pray more fervently.

Some say we need to change our ways in our own personal lives to better the world in small ways.

Some push to change the world in bigger ways.

Does the fast accomplish this????

I’m no expert and I won’t claim to answer any of this. But I fast as I realize it’s part of Jewish peoplehood, of what we are, of our history and our connection to it. And I’m sure people can connect without the fasting, but it makes me more of a participant.

Is that a good enough reason?? According to macrobiotics, fasting is extreme and not at all recommended.

If I do it just to know I can, then how come I don’t resist from foods I know I shouldn’t eat at other times. There is something intangible about being part of something bigger than myself, which gives me strength. Yet I can apply that to mb, it also is a large movement, bigger ideas, yet the key to mb is each person is to figure it all out for himself. Of course, that makes sense when we realize each person is different and must find out what works for him/herself.  In Judaism, we’re all connected to each other and to G-d – and that’s what makes it so much stronger.

It’s still early as I write this, not yet 10 a.m. As the day wears on, the grumbling in my stomach increases and I hate fasting (it’s the flip side of that I love food 🙂  but as in all the years, I will continue until the fast is over, at night time, I’m guessing around 8:30 as we are now in the longest day of the year.

We wish each other a Tzom Kal, an easy fast. Some wish each other a meaningful fast. What I wish is that this year change will indeed happen, whether from the fast, from the reflections, from the prayers – and that change will only make this world into a better world.


One thought on “Why Fast??

  1. All good points! I find for me fasting is a bit of a health test. A few years ago I was taking some pharmaceutical meds – got off those. Also, I was drinking coffee every day. Now I am not on meds and drink coffee once a week or so. So far, it is an easy fast. I had terrible fasts while on the meds.

    And I enjoy learning from you about food – I realized some of my favorites are from you (daikons with umeboshi paste is my absolute favorite “snack”).

    As for meaning, it is connection to my family. Everyone is fasting! Too tired to learn history on a fast day.


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