17 March 2016

Teshuvah, Tefillah, Tzedakah: Wrong Season?


7 Adar Bet 5776

Not exactly - even though the High Holy Days are seven months away.

A three-day fast (the kind Queen Esther of Persia commanded upon the Jewish People all those many centuries ago) has been declared in Israel (Rabbis Arik Naveh and Yuval Asherov haCohen, shlit"a, are featured in the video below), extending to the Jewish world, and so far over 22,600 have signed up. That's since Shabbat Pekudei, when I first heard about it from a very dear friend of mine in the neighborhood. I couldn't find it online, but fortunately, my friend posted the link in our local e-newsletter, so that I could go there, sign up, and spread the word just that much further.

The dates are Monday-Wednesday, March 21-23. Most who are fasting will begin after Ma'ariv/Arvit prayers Sunday night. The fast will end Wednesday night after Ma'ariv/Arvit, whatever time it is for you. 

Moral support for fasters and other participants can be found here.

Essentially, we are now at the point in world history when everything begins to happen that we've ever heard about regarding the Complete Redemption. But it is a long, hard road and we Jews have helped make it so. Not for the reasons the nations are breathing down our collective neck, looking to annihilate us. Nay, it is the exact opposite. We have not been "ourselves" enough. We identify too much with the nations we and our ancestors have lived among (unless you are one of the lucky ones whose family has always lived here. There are some of those too. But even then the land was ruled by others, and Jews were kept poor here by the usual methods.). Generations-wise, we haven't been out of the lands of exile very long. As the saying goes, it is easier to take the Jew out of the exile than to take the exile out of the Jew. We have forgotten HaShem and failed to take Him into account.

Even today's Israeli government refuses to identify Jewishly any more than it absolutely has to, which is why we still have our hodgepodge of British-Ottoman-and now-American law (and probably other obscure laws somewhere in the middle). And, let's not forget "International Law"!

And we mustn't forget our brothers and sisters still in exilic lands. Our confusion here in Israel keeps all but the most intrepid away. But you out there, too, must take HaShem into account. After all, He gave us this land, including you. Those who consider this a shame now will be all the more ashamed later, when the war is won and we inhabit our entire land in peace. Showing faith — davka while the world still doesn't agree that we belong here — is important.

Last but not least, we each need to take heed to ourselves and our personal behavior as well as our attitude towards our fellow Jews. We couldn't do any of this without national consciousness.

The link, in 5 languages: עברית | English | Français | русский | Español

(By the way, I'm happy to have the opportunity to link to more languages that my readers speak.)

***NOTE for those who feel intimidated by this challenge: If for medical reasons you cannot fast, you do not have to fast; you may do other things - tzedakah and Tehillim are highly recommended; also contemplation of our situation as well as our actions and effect on the world around us. Kol hakavod to those who feel the burden and can carry it all the way to the finish line. Complete instructions in all the languages in English only (sorry about that) are now available in PDF format. (It's 23 pages long!) Don't worry; I was also overwhelmed when I first heard about it.***

And when this is all over, have the best Purim ever, G-d willing. Meanwhile, it's time to wake up...the life and family you save may be your own.

All the videos on the site are in Hebrew...

...and we all understand this one (not on the site).

May we succeed, each in his/her own way. Participation is the most important thing.


GoldieZP said...

About 20 years ago - long before I was maguired - I fasted for 5 days for reasons I need not share. I give this over only because I am very happy to hear about this fasting. I most certainly will participate. I will give this over on my blog when I get to a computer

GoldieZP said...

I put your post on my instagram link. Others should do the same

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Goldie, thanks so much!

To my readers: I apologize for the many corrections I have had to make since the initial posting. There was a lot more to say, but time is of the essence and I didn't want to be late. Only a few days left to sign up!


HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

And, by the way, I wouldn't have signed up if the fasting protocol were so strict that it wouldn't consider age (at both ends) and health. The rabbis have given responsible guidelines here - no one in their right mind would want tragedy as a result of this fast.

DS said...

Thank you so much for posting this, CDG. You just did a great Mitzvah here. You should be blessed. I hope the news spread like wildfire.

Behatzlachah to all participants - a lot more meaningful and necessary than the stupid Jerusalem marathon the PTB found fitting to do in these momentous times. They have nothing better to do than hellenize our people when our lives are on the line? How stupid, how unaware can one get? And listening to the radio on the bus today ( I forgot which station), I couldn't believe it; they found nothing better to talk about than St Patrick's day; and they interviewed a young American Jew who had as a condition to making aliyah that marijuana should be legalized. Where, oh where are Jewish hearts and minds these days? How lost can one be? Is it any wonder that Am Yisrael is going through such suffering? The People of Israel are eating from Ahashverosh's feast all over again.

So this fast couldn't be more appropriate. Spread the word around!

DS said...

Just one caveat:

The way I look at it, we don't have to follow their guidelines at all, they are only human, and if you notice, they are very much trying to cover their behinds legally. So I would say, do what feels right for you. Commit yourself, bli neder, to do the best you can to beseech Hakadosh Baruch Hu with whatever means are at your disposal. But there really are no set rules. Can you even invoke Halachah in a situation like this? I am not even sure, after all their guidelines are made up as they go; what does it have to do with Halachah? This is strictly a voluntary fast! If unsure, ask YOUR rabbi. Don't be a sheep!

As far as I am concerned, I know I will do the best I can to fast, pray, meditate, do Teshuvah, give Tzedakah if necessary. But if I feel it's too hard, I will just do what I can, trying to concentrate on the essence of these three days to be best of my ability.

Shabbat Shalom.

devora said...

Chava I love the line "it is easier to take the Jew out of the exile that the exile out of the Jew" I think that this summarizes a lot of ideas I have about the times we are in. It also reminds me of the Pinchas Winston Geulah song where he says "Exile is not Redemption no matter how sweet it is". May we merit to see Moshiach very soon!!! blessings, Devora Sinton

Myrtle Rising (Dassie) said...

Thanks so much for all this, Chava, including your insights and the worthy alternatives for those of us who cannot maintain a physical 3-day fast.
Thank you.

Batya said...

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