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Fast Days: Isaiah 58: Fasting to Learn Compassion

1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a horn, and declare to My people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways; as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their Lord, they ask of Me righteous ordinances, they delight to draw near to the Lord.


3 ‘‘Why have we fasted, and You do not see? Why have we afflicted our soul, and You do not take knowledge?’–Behold, in the day of your fast you pursue your business, and exact all your labors.

4 Behold, you fast for strife and contention, and to smite with the fist of wickedness;

you do not fast this day so as to make your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is such the fast that I have chosen? the day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to God?

6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the fetters of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?

7 Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out into your house? when you see the naked, that you cover him, and that you do not hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then shall your light break forth as the morning,

and your healing shall spring forth speedily;

and your righteousness shall go before you,

God’s glory shall be your rearward.

9 Then shalt you call, and God will answer; you shalt cry, and He will say: ‘Here I am.’ If you take away from your midst the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking wickedness;

10 And if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul;

then shall your light rise in darkness, and your gloom be as the noon-day;

11 And God will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and make strong your bones;

and you shalt be like a watered garden,

and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

No commentary necessary.

(I suggest that you study Rabbeinu Yonah on the Rif, Berachot, Chapter 5 for his application of this chapter to the blessing of Restoration of Justice.)

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