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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ta'anit Esther

--(No, I didn't get the job yesterday; I just didn't think that was worth a whole separate blog post.  And, yes, I can replace the strings on the damaged tallit katan.)

--Today is ta'anit Esther, the fast of Esther, the day before Purim, which starts tonight.  (I love Purim; watch for a delightful post tomorrow.)  The following is how I observe fast days:


  1. Obviously, I am fasting.  This one is sunup to sundown, so I actually got up way early (4:45 am) to eat something, then went back to sleep for a while.  Because of my medications, I have to keep drinking, but I only drink water and I fast from all food.  I will break my fast tonight after the reading of the Scroll of Esther in the synagogue.
  2. There is a special prayer called Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, our King) that is recited on fast days and the Ten Days of Repentance.  When I pray today, I will recite it.
  3. I am wearing my special kippah that I save for fast days, Israel's memorial day, and Holocaust Remembrance Day.  It is the more somber looking of my two black velvet ones.  I originally bought it to thumb my nose at the ultra-Orthodox (it is the style their men wear); now I have it for a more important reason.
--And there you have it! That is how I observe ta'anit Esther.

--EDITED TO ADD: I really like including a picture with each entry, at least one, now that I've gotten in the habit of it.  Usually that picture is a Reece's Rainbow aging-out kid; often that one picture is enough.

Today's child, "Fritz," however, does not have a picture, most likely because he is from a country that does not allow pictures to be shared publicly.  (I know Latvia is such a country; that's the only one I know for sure, but I'm certain there must be others.)

 Also, I am wearing my favorite tee shirt today, because yes, the weather is warm enough for tee shirts, in March! I got this one from my college's Hillel.  It is red and black, my college colors, with the name of my college in Hebrew; those who read Hebrew will now know where I went to college.  I do try to keep my whereabouts private on the internet, but since I'm no longer at that school, I think showing this shirt is OK.

 I tried to take the shot from above, to include my fast day kippah; I took three shots, but it just wasn't working, so I gave up.  If you go back to the post with the kippot grouped by color, it's the one on your right in the picture of the black ones; I am using plain black clips with it, first because it's black, so the clips match; and second because it is thick and heavy, and needs strong clips, which my fun weekday ones aren't.  Anyway, here's today's photograph.


--EDITED A SECOND TIME TO ADD: I literally just realized, after writing the first "edited to add," putting in the selfie, and proofreading, that I forgot to include the reason we fast today! We fast today because in the Book of Esther, when Queen Esther commits to going before King Ahashverosh (not how he's referred to in the English, but I can't spell the way he's referred to in the English, so I am transliterating the Hebrew) uninvited, she announces: "if I perish, I perish."  She then commits to three days of fasting and prayer, and asks that all the Jews of the kingdom fast with her...and they do.  We fast today to remember their fast.  My father's attitude is "I'm not fasting for a fairy tale" (direct quotation).  I definitely respect that attitude, because I believe the Book of Esther is a fairy tale, too, and in past years, I have not fasted on this day.  However, this year I am obsessed with doing every possible Jewish thing I can, so today, I am fasting.


--And, please meet "FRITZ," aging out NEXT JUNE, and diagnosed with Down syndrome.  "Fritz" has no picture.

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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!