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Monday, July 25, 2005



For those who fasted yesterday, kol hakavod and hope you caught up by the time you’re reading this.

If there was one, just one rule I could scrape out of the Shulchan Aruch, it would be the fast days, no doubt.
I’m perfectly aware of the fact that there are more difficult Halachos to follow and certainly more recurrent ones.
Still I stubbornly won’t budge in my choice.
I await fast days with fear and trepidation, unfortunately not for the right reasons.
Indeed I often question the use of fasting at all as my feelings are mostly of hunger and want, instead of sadness and regret about past happenings.
Yom Kippur may be the exception to the rule.
Not that fasting feels better then, but the purpose is clearer in my mind, thus more bearable.
Whenever I meet (doesn’t happen often) a candidate convert, I scream to him “the fasts think of the fasts!!!”
Ironically I have to hear from them about how it’s good spiritually, physically and metaphysically.

When sharing my anxiety about fasting with others, it hits me at how I seem to be exaggerating.
Some people barely feel a difference; others just get through the day without complaining, and many people don’t find it to be such a big deal at all.

Why is this so hard for me, why does a fast day elicit such apprehension from me?
I guess the answer lies in the approach to such a day.
This year I told myself to handle this pragmatically.
Ok it’s a fast day, but panicking, hyperventilating and stuffing myself to build up storage won’t do any good.
So I came up with a brilliant plan that I found out later everybody had come up with already light-years ago.

Thankfully Chassidic schtieblers have minyanims till it’s almost time for Minchah.
That helped to accomplish the first part of my ingenious plan:), staying in bed for as long as possible.
Somehow the sticky, somewhat muggy taste in my moth only starts irritating when standing rather then when waking up.
I prepared enough reading material in advance and planned to make those long overdue calls to all my friends abroad.
Preparing all this, gathering the required phone numbers, going to the library and eating, kept me occupied enough not to ponder too much about the upcoming fast.
The fast itself wasn’t exactly my day of the month, but it was less bad than last time.
I was prepared and banished food as much as possible from my thoughts.
In three weeks, there is another one coming up.
I’m still calm for now, but this one will be harder. It’s a very intense day, much longer and overall depressing.
Any tips for to make it easier will be highly appreciated.

I'm totally right there with you on fast days. Only, I am a convert! I can't explain to you what I was thinking, but the fast days *almost* make me wish I could turn back the clock.

If you get any good advice on how to best handle Tisha B'Av, let me know. It's the water I miss the most. The food I can do without. It was 100 degrees and humid here on Sunday. Ugh.
17 Tamuz is the most difficult because it goes until 9. Teves is nothing, very often I dont get around to eat until 5 anyway.

I was so busy blogging, surfing, and going to the Supermarket, and other stores I barely thought about eating.

It also helps take your mind off food if you are thinking about boys, or girls in your case. But thats probably a lot worse then not fasting, LOl.
prag - sorry I didn't get around to interviewing you yet. I will iy'h tomorrow.
what i have been learning is that what is hardest to do is what we must master. for some, that is fasting. for others, it is that monthly trip to mikvah. for others, it is keeping kosher. as far as tips on fasting, a very beautiful family who graciously adopted my husband and myself into their home in israel, they always eat TONS of watermelon, barley, and drink a lot of water before the fast. the barley fills you up, and the watermelon & water give you the extra water.
good luck & easy fasting.
Anysara- the best I got so far is to take your mind off the fast, and think about fun stuff.
Friends I know rent out the whole video store and only stop watching or wake up when the fast is over.
Sem- I'll try to get my mind off the fast. It’s a good thing my wife doesn't read my blog, I might just take your advice about… thinking…
YM- ready when you are
Bec- Thanks for the tips, I had heard about watermelon but not the barely, worth a try
I agree 100%. Fasting is something I dread each time around. It's very difficult for me. As a convert, I can tell you that fasting was one of the things I had to really consider. Ultimately, it is worth it and I always manage to survive. But it is very difficult. The hunger isn't so bad, it's the dehydration from no liquids. I am looking for tips myself on how to ease the pain. If I find any that sound good, I'll let you know.
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