I realize a fair number of my readers aren’t religious, but I think the sentiment behind the following, read in every synagogue today, is pretty universal:
To be sure, they seek Me daily,
Eager to learn My ways.
Like a nation that does what is right,
That has not abandoned the laws of its God,
They ask Me for the right path,
They are eager for the nearness of God:
“Why, when we fasted, did You not see?
When we starved our bodies, did You pay no heed?”
Because on your fast day, you see to your business and oppress all your workers.
Because you fast in strife and contention,
And you strike with a wicked fist.
Your fasting today is not such as to make your voice heard on high.
Is this the fast I desire,
A day for men to starve their bodies?
Is it bowing the head like a bulrush and lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call that a fast, a day when the Lord is favorable?
No, this is the fast I desire:
To unlock the fetters of wickedness,
And untie the cords of lawlessness,
To let the oppressed go free;
To break off every yoke.
It is to share your bread with the hungry,
And to take the wretched poor into your home;
When you see the naked, to clothe him,
And not to ignore your own brethren.
If you’re physically fasting, I hope you have (or had) an easy fast. For everyone, I hope you have an easy ‘real’ fast too.