DIRE STRAIGHTS: Rabbis call for three-day fast preceding Purim
Drawing inspiration from biblical Queen Esther, several prominent religious leaders are calling on Jews worldwide to fast for divine intercession in Israel’s security and social disparities.
Tens of thousands of Jews in Israel and around the world are expected to abstain from eating and drinking for three straight days next week, as part of an extraordinary fast established by several rabbis as a “spiritual response” to the security and social disparities in Israel.
It will be dedicated to “examining one’s conscience regarding one’s actions, responsibility, and contribution to social tikkun (Jewish ethics).”
The initiative, “the three days,” is led by Rabbi Yuval Asherov, a natural therapist and a spiritual Kabbalistic guru. He said, “This is a critical time to the people of Israel.” Other rabbis called on the public to join him, such as Rabbi Shalom Arush, a Breslov Hassidic leader.
They derived inspiration for the fast from that of the biblical Queen Esther in the Purim story in order to cancel Haman’s decree. The
fast is planned for those days when the Jews fasted as ordered by Esther during Xerxes’ reign, the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Adar (this year: on March 21, 22 and 23) from Sunday before sunset, to Wednesday afternoon after the stars appear (when Purim starts).
“When extreme situations arise, they require an extreme reaction,” explained the fast’s leadership. “We must make a general break in routine to wake up, stop, cure the evil of separatism, and unite. It was known long ago that in times of trouble, when Israel unites, the troubles disappear.”
“What causedus to become so fragmented and divided? How did we end up with a security situation
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