Outside-in

This tisha b’Av is very strange for me: my doctor ruled that it would be dangerous to fast for the full time, so based on that I had to break my fast at hatzot (mid-day, 1:14 EDT here). Interestingly, that wasn’t optional: I was no more allowed to continue fasting than I would be allowed to get a(nother) tattoo.

So this puts me out-of-step with the community once more. A surprising thing to me is that many of the people I’ve told have responded with “lucky you,” or the like; I was expecting more of “I’m sorry”! It isn’t like I’m getting told this because things are good, eh? No, my health is actually pretty poor right now- I have a moderately serious case of persistent vertigo ever since the cruise (meclizine is a big “meh”), more migraines, louder tinnitus, and increasing incidence of nerve pain radiating from my spine to my arms whenever I hold them out. Fortunately I’ll be seeing some doctors this week, so maybe something will come of that.

But more to the point, I have the sense of being outside looking in, prevented from sharing the communal experience. Communal fasting is a huge deal – it is said that one who does not mourn the destruction will not experience the redemption, and I have no desire to cut myself off from this.

And of course, there’s Eikha (Lamentations) – the third chapter introspectively examines the sins and physical afflictions of the author, and in so doing provides a template for seeing fault in physical suffering. So, no, I’d much rather be fasting today.

About thegameiam
I'm a network engineer, musician, and Orthodox Jew who opines on things which cross my path.

4 Responses to Outside-in

  1. Sarah says:

    I empathize with this; I also feel cut off from the community when I’m not fasting. The important thing to remember is that you’re not fasting under medical orders, so there is no issue of cutting yourself off from any redemption. Be nice to yourself.

  2. David R VanLangeveld says:

    I agree to a certain extent with Sarah. While Mormons don’t fast for a full month, we do fast on the first (or second) Sundays each month. The only fast sundays (as we call them) that I haven’t fasted have been when I’m battling a cold or other illness. When those have occurred, I haven’t felt cut off from the community, but I have felt that I’m not at the same spiritual level that many of my fellow churchmembers might be at. I can definitely empathize. Remember that God understands and I feel that He blesses you for your desire to fast, even if medical conditions prevent you from doing so.

  3. Dalia Dewaratanawan says:

    Tinnitus can also be an indicator of other serious disease. Always go to a doctor for proper evalation. ‘..’:

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