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Countdown or Countup (Can’t Decide) To Asarah b’Tevet 2 – God Prefers Joy


Why begin a 30 Day Countdown to a Fast Day, Asarah b’Tevet?

Do we not live with expectation the, over the next thirty days, it (and the Eighth and the Ninth) will be transformed into a Festival:

As Rav Ḥana bar Bizna said that Rabbi Shimon Ḥasida said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Thus said the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall become times of joy and gladness, and cheerful seasons, to the house of Judah” (Zechariah 8:19). It calls them days of “fast” and it calls them “times of joy and gladness.” How so? When there is peace in the world, they will be times of joy and gladness… (Rosh Hashanah 18b).

I would like to focus on Preparing For a Constructive Eighth-Ninth-Tenth of Tevet:

 The Rabbi: 

The divine law imposes no asceticism on us. 

It rather desires that we should keep the equipoise, and grant every mental and physical faculty its due, as much as it can bear, without overburdening one faculty at the expense of another. 

If a person gives way to licentiousness he blunts his mental faculty; he who is inclined to violence injures some other faculty. 

Prolonged fasting is no act of piety for a weak person who, having succeeded in checking his desires, is not greedy. For him feasting is a burden and self-denial. 

Neither is diminution of wealth an act of piety, if it is gained in a lawful way, and if its acquisition does not interfere with study and good works, especially for him who has a household and children. He may spend part of it in almsgiving, which would not be displeasing to God; but to increase it is better for himself. 

Our law, as a whole, is divided between fear, love, and joy, by each of which one can approach God. 

Thy contrition on a fast day does nothing to bring one nearer to God than thy joy on the Sabbath and holy days, if it is the outcome of a devout heart. 

Just as prayers demand devotion, so also is a pious mind necessary to find pleasure in God’s command and law; that thou shouldst be pleased with the law itself from love of the Lawgiver. 

Thou seest how much He has distinguished thee, as if thou hadst been His guest invited to His festive board. 

Thou thankest Him in mind and word, 

and if thy joy lead thee so far as to sing and dance, it becomes worship and a bond of union between thee and the Divine Influence (Kuzari, Section Two, Paragraph 50 –sefaria.org)

So, I would like to focus on our blessings, and, most of all, how we, “besieged in quarantine,” succeeded in finding new strengths and fresh insights into our relationship with the. Almighty.

Rather than a Countdown let’s try a Countup!

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