This month we will all join in the merriment of the Purim holiday. The day before Purim is the 13th of the Hebrew month of Adar, and it is what we call a minor Fast Day. A minor fast day begins at daybreak and lasts until sunset, unlike Yom Kippur or Tisha B’Av, on which the fast is observed from sunset to sunset.
The 13th of Adar, known as the Fast of Esther, is in commemoration of the 3-day fast undertaken by the Jews of Persia at the request of Queen Esther prior to her pleading the cause of her people before King Achashverosh. Fasting has several purposes, all relating to the theme of the particular day.
Long ago the prophet Isaiah realized that it is not the fast itself that is important, rather what it means to accomplish. Perhaps we could take the money we save by NOT eating on this Fast Day and give it to someone who needs it. We could make an extra donation to any organization fighting hunger, in our own community or beyond.
The merit of a fast is the charity it produces. May we all be conscious of the needs of those less fortunate, and may our deeds of tzedakah reflect this awareness. And remember, each of us needs only to do our part, and in doing so, we will accomplish a small bit of Tikun Olam, repairing the world.
L’hitraot –- until next time.