Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jewish Nakba

I hate fasting. And tonight is the start of our 2nd most important 25-hour fast day Tisha B'av. There are years when I do fast and there are those when I don't - but for most of the years I've been on this planet, I think I have fasted more than I haven't. I think.

This particular fast was declared by rabbis because of the many calamities that happened on this day, the most important being the destruction of the Temple (both the first and second) in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile of the Jews from their land as a result - around 2,000 years ago. In that vein, I do sympathize with Arabs who lost their homes in 1948 in this country - yes, I know "they" fought us in 1948, but many were not fighters and were told to leave by either their own or the Israeli army and hundreds of villages/homes were destroyed afterwards. If any of these people had Jewish ancestry, which I suspect they do have because I see the love and hold they have on this particular piece of property in this part of the world, and the anger they have to this day at losing it. I know I certainly don't mourn my father's "land" in Austria nor my mother's "land" in Poland, but Jews remember for millenia our exile from the Holy Land. and so I believe the soul hurt more when it's exiled from the Holy Land. If that's the case, then they had to face yet a third exile from this land in modern times. So we have our sad commonalities in that way.

But getting to a lighter side of things, which I always do - I'm like the dude on the cross singing "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" - there is this strange concoction I bought at the health food store, which is labeled as Chinese medicine, and is called Tzom Kal (Easy Fast) to help one get through the fast easier. I've already been off coffee since Monday - had my withdrawal headache on that day, and have since felt a bit better. This morning I had to take this concoction, which tastes like maple syrup and I'll have to take it again 10 minutes before the fast begins. I wonder if this type of thing gets sold to Moslems for their month-long Ramadan fasting season. If it works for me, I'll let them in on this little secret.

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