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    Purpose of fasting – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why do we observe sad events by not eating and drinking? In what way does fasting express our emotions?

    A. One answer is that when a tragedy happens we can’t eat, we don’t want to eat. In contrast, when it is a happy moment we eat (probably too much).

    The Psalmist says that wine gladdens the heart of man (Psalm 104:l5); like wine, food gives us a feeling of happiness and fullness. So surely the opposite should also hold true.

    Denying ourselves food and drink makes us feel uncomfortable, uneasy, depressed and deprived. Unless we have that unpleasant feeling we cannot appreciate the depth of the catastrophe.

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