Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tisha B'av with Food

Okay, so fine, I'm an agnostic. I don't really feel God or spirituality the way other people seem to.

And I'm not really sad about the absence of a Temple in Israel. (In fact, I think I'd be more disturbed than anything about things like animal sacrifices that are supposed to take place there.)

That said, as I wrote in my last post, I do find meaning in Tisha B'av - in remembering the loss and suffering of so many of my ancestors, in so many places, generations. But I've never been able to experience that meaningfulness because my body simply shuts down without food (see previous post for more specific details).

So this Tisha B'av, I ate.

I limited myself: only plain bread, plain pasta, juice, and water.

I didn't play any of those games where you only eat a morsel every minute or so. I didn't think that sort of activity would help add meaning to the day -- it seems like it would only serve to make me focus even more on food, etc.

I have to say that this was the most meaningful Tisha B'av, most meaningful fast day actually, I've ever had. And that includes all of those I observed when I was more religious that I am now.
It was a "fast" the way the Christians define it during Lent (only, I guess, more extreme). Every time I opened the refrigerator, I had to stop myself from taking what I really wanted - and then, got to think about why I was doing that.

And that's the thing: I was mentally present enough to think about it. Completely incredible, for me, at least.