Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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Fasting

   by Reb Gutman Locks   
     

Fasting

 

 

     There is a small, very fine kollel (advanced Talmud studies) in the Old City that specializes in Jewish mysticism where from time to time they hold a three-day fast. No eating or drinking for three days! They are very dedicated Jews, and are, as far as I can see, all extremely humble Jewish men…, but when I asked one of them to try a different kind of fast, a "fast" of three days of only spiritual joy, he asked me, "What…, you want to start an argument?"

     I have seen the results of fasting from food and drink, and I have seen the results of spiritual joy… abstaining from sorrow and negativity. In my experience, the spiritual joy "fast" brings far greater results.  

     In some ways the food and drink fast is much easier. All you have to do is refuse to eat or drink. It is easier to remember that you are fasting, too. But the spiritual joy "fast" is much subtler. You have to be on guard against even negative thoughts.

     Obviously, no one can control their thoughts so what this "fast" requires is if a negative thought does come you must quickly think two positive thoughts.

     Tools that make the Joy "fast" easier are to go through your day counting your blessings, thanking G-d over and over again, seeing how close we are to Redemption, doing mitzvahs remembering that they bring holiness into your life, helping others… After a while it gets easier and easier until it becomes your way of being.

     The Vilna Gaon said that the most difficult mitzvah in the entire Torah was to be happy all seven days of Succoth. It may be difficult to learn how to be happy all the time, but it is certainly worth the "effort".

 

2 comments:

  1. Does the Talmud actually presume that the Sages/Rabbis/dreamers and prophets actually made themselves gods? In Baba Metzia 59b and the Oven of Akhnai, it appears that unanointed and unappointed men Sages made themselves gods.

    If this is true, then we have the reason Hashem has turned His face away from the Jewish people who have followed the Rabbinic Oral Law Torah for more than 2000 years

    וזה הוא תנור של עכנאי מאי עכנאי אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל שהקיפו דברים כעכנא זו וטמאוהו תנא באותו היום השיב רבי אליעזר כל תשובות שבעולם ולא קיבלו הימנו


    חזר ואמר להם אם הלכה כמותי כותלי בית המדרש יוכיחו הטו כותלי בית המדרש ליפול גער בהם רבי יהושע אמר להם אם תלמידי חכמים מנצחים זה את זה בהלכה אתם מה טיבכם לא נפלו מפני כבודו של רבי יהושע ולא זקפו מפני כבודו של ר"א ועדיין מטין ועומדין


    חזר ואמר להם אם הלכה כמותי מן השמים יוכיחו יצאתה בת קול ואמרה מה לכם אצל ר"א שהלכה כמותו בכ"מ

    עמד רבי יהושע על רגליו ואמר (דברים ל, יב) לא בשמים היא מאי לא בשמים היא אמר רבי ירמיה שכבר נתנה תורה מהר סיני אין אנו משגיחין בבת קול שכבר כתבת בהר סיני בתורה (שמות כג, ב) אחרי רבים להטות אשכחיה רבי נתן לאליהו א"ל מאי עביד קוב"ה בההיא שעתא א"ל קא חייך ואמר נצחוני בני נצחוני בני

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  2. Agree that it is better to do G-D's Will with joy. Our great Sages tell us to always be b'simcha. To fast takes alot of strength, physically and spiritually; eating sustains our beings because we are just mortal, and, therefore, can function properly when we have the benefit of not denying ourselves food.

    To Mr. Wolf, Cannot understand your comment. Without the Oral Laws, there is no way of interpreting the Written Laws. Rambam says that we must believe in our Torah, both the Written and Oral Laws. If not, they are going against the Thirteen Principles of belief and therefore they do NOT believe in the Torah. To say that these Sages and great Rabbis thought of themselves as gods is blasphemous.
    The christians, karaites, etc. do not accept the Oral Laws, therefore, They can never understand Torah.

    ReplyDelete

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