Chronicle poll results: Fasting on Tisha b’Av
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Chronicle poll results: Fasting on Tisha b’Av

We asked our readers if they fast on Tisha b'Av. Here's what they said.

Last week, the Chronicle asked its readers in an electronic poll the following question: “Do you fast on Tisha b’Av?” Of the 232 people who responded, 75% said no; 21% said yes; and 4% said sometimes. Comments were submitted by 33 people. A few follow.

I never heard of Tisha b’Av until I was an adult. In Sunday School we learned about the holidays as they came during the school year. We didn’t learn about Tisha b’Av because it’s not during the school year.

I believe that many Jews only like to participate in those events that bring the fun and happy historical and religious occurrences to the traditions table. As we know, sad things happen, and it helps to raise the level of the beautiful and happy events. Solemnity and mourning help create a realistic balance to our truthfulness.

The loss of the Temple was a great tragedy, but it feels wrong to fast for it when we don’t fast for other national tragedies, and we can’t very well fill up the calendar with fast days for all the evils we’ve been afflicted with.

While I am aware of the day and its importance in our history, health reasons prevent me from fasting. I do try to eat less to acknowledge the day.

Maybe to lose weight, but not for religious reasons.

I fast when I realize that it’s Tisha b’Av.

The act of fasting helps me to focus my energy on the extreme sadness of the day. There is a point in any fast where you lose the ability to focus on multiple ideas, and on Tisha b’Av you have the chance to fill that void with historical sadness and generational trauma as opposed to Yom Kippur where that void can be filled with repentance and self-improvement. It isn’t easy, but if you can do it the process is cathartic.

I’m not interested in the renewal of animal sacrifice and I haven’t yet found a different meaning that works for me.

If the Israel government continues on its chosen path, the result will probably involve my fasting on Tisha b’Av!

It’s a tough fast, but someone’s got to do it

The fast of Tisha b’Av which was instituted by Moshe Rabbenu as an attempt to repent for the sin of worshipping the golden calf and the subsequent destruction of the tablets, and then later both Temples along with many other tragedies throughout history, makes it not only the sole biblical fast, but in our days it should be a day of opportunity to improve our relationship with G-d. And for that reason I, and everyone else who is able, should fast.

What is Tisha b’Av?

It is a time for sadness, to mourn the tragedies that have befallen our people. As long as I can fast safely, I will do so. PJC

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