Saturday, December 22, 2012

Why fast?


"There are days when all Jews fast because of the troubles that have beset them on those days. The goal is to awaken the hearts, to open the paths of repentance...

"As we remember these things, we will return to do what is right, as it is written, 'And they shall admit their sins and the sins of their ancestors...'"

(Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Fasts 5:1)

Have an easy and meaningful fast,


  1. Maybe "נָשׁוּב לְהֵיטִיב" is more "we will return to bestowing good"?

  2. R' Micha-
    Would that offer an appropriate contrast to זכרון למעשינו הרעים in the first part of the sentence?

  3. I was just looking at a literal translation. He doesn't say "nashuv lemaasim tovim" (return to good deeds) nor even "nashuv letov" (to [being] good). "Leheitiv" means something related to creating/providing good, no?

    The fact that the Rambam considers "evil deeds" and "bestowing good" to be antonyms is worth exploring.

  4. I don't think להיטיב needs to mean that; after all, look at Bereishis 4:3. It would be interesting to render that "bestow good," but I would have to consider that homiletic.

  5. You mean 4:7: "...הֲלוֹא אִם תֵּיטִיב שְׂאֵת, וְאִם לֹא תֵיטִיב"?

    I don't see why you think it's homiletic to take Hevel as saying, "If you made Good, you will be borne [despite the sacrifice's rejection], and if you did not ..."

    But it's straight diqduq, no? "Meitiv" is hif'il - causative, Like "hatavas haneiros" is setting up the lamps, making them usable [good].

  6. The mefarshim there seem to take it as "improve your deeds"