Monday, July 30, 2012

On the other side

I'm not sure how many of my readers are aware of this, but yesterday we had the Tisha B'Av fast (delayed, because the actual Tisha B'Av was Shabbat). Generally I do not tolerate fasts very well; the 25 hours without food and water really gets to me. First I'm very hungry, then very thirsty, then just so weak I can hardly move a limb and get a bad headache. Also, ever since Tehilla was born I have been breastfeeding, and so have gone out of habit of fasting - only do this on Tisha B'Av and Yom Kippur, and on Yom Kippur just once so far because two years ago I was 10 days postpartum and a rabbi decreed I can take liquids in small amounts throughout the day.

Add  to the difficulty of fasting two very energetic little girls who must be cared for as usual... well, you get the picture. In this case, at the end of the day I was so tired I simply filled two water guns and sent them outside to play. Chickens make great moving targets. :o)

Anyhow, when I fasted previously I always ended up frustrated: "this is a religious obligation, but I don't feel it has any use whatsoever. I can think of no higher purpose when all I want is to eat and drink and carry on my routine and feel normal. Why can't we have, say, light meals and study about the Temple instead?" - but this time, something resonated differently for me.

As I was trying to survive the last hours of the fast, I thought of the Jews after the destruction of the Temple... weak, weary, unsure whether they can carry on another hour... and on top of it all, their whole world tumbling down upon them, dominated by a black void of immeasurable loss and grief we can only vaguely imagine. So I just sat quietly and talked a bit to Shira about the Temple - on an age-appropriate level, of course. I explained we are very sad because we have it no longer, and that we will always feel its loss until it is rebuilt.

May that happen soon.


Miriam said...

Tisha B'Av 2 years ago was the 1st special day we observed (excluding Shabbath) - and I was sure one cannot survive without food or drink. I carefully chose the foods I was going to treat myself afterwards... ridiculous, I know... :-)

Ever since it's been better and better, at least spiritually. Nowadays I look forward fast days :-) I mean the learning, the process inside me, even when there's nothing special with the physical circumstances :-)

Katie B. of said...

I don't do well fasting, either. As a Catholic, there are only three days per year that we must fast. To be honest, I'm cranky on each of them. It's never dawned on me to use the time to empathize with ancestors. Next time, I'll try to remember your perspective!

Jennifer D. said...

I will admit up front that I don't know very much about Jewish history, religious practices, and culture and I am always wanting to learn more so that I may understand better. I have enjoyed reading your blog because you have given me a bit of an inside look into your world and have help me understand a bit more. I have had this question for years and I hope you don't mind me asking. Why has the Temple not been rebuilt yet?

Mrs. Anna T said...

Jennifer, I wonder as well. Some say the Messiah himself will build the Temple, when he comes. Others claim we can begin building now. I just wish it would happen already, one way or the other.

Otter Mom said...

I have fasted before, for religous reasons. It's not easy. But I do think we can learn a lot from the experience.

Anonymous said...

After this temple will be rebuilt, the Antichrist will sit in it and declare that he is God. You'd better make sure you get saved asap instead of waiting for a false messiah. Sorry that i have to say this so blunt, but I am following your blog for years now and grew really fond of you and would like to spend eternity in heaven with you. So pls repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins! He fullfilled all of Gods laws and died a sacrificial death for sinners. God will not accept any other form of rightousness than the rightousness of Christ, that you have when you believe on Him!

Mrs. Anna T said...


If that's how you feel, too bad.

You are tempting me to break the number one golden rule of my blog - no theological or political debates - to prove that you are the deluded one, but I'll hold it.

Anonymous said...

Another "fruit" of fasting that I have found: the slow chipping away at Pride and Self. I'm cranky because I am uncomfortable, and I want to feel better NOW! I 'deserve' food and drink on my timetable, whenever I want it... so the arguing in my mind goes :( To praise Almighty God anyway for Who He is and what He has done, whether I am in comfort or not is my goal~ and to be grateful for His bounty that floods my life, that I'm ashamed to say, I may take for granted.