by Rabbi Seth M. Limmer
Reprinted from the Congregation B’nai Israel blog, chadesh yameinu
Our world has not been perfect for quite a long time.
In every age, our people have struggled to act in ways that can bring our world as-it-is ever closer to the world we know needs to be. Two thousand years ago, when facing ravaging drought, plaguing disease, or devastating pestilence, our ancestors would abstain from food and drink. We read of their reasoning in the Talmud: a fast day is decreed to petition God for compassion and the removal of calamity. The hope of old was that the community’s choice to deprive itself of basic necessities would arouse Divine Compassion, and change the future for the better.