With the fast days coming up next week, I have been wondering, historically speaking, whether in Judaism or any other religion, why is fasting considered a holy act?
Is it because you are supposed to struggle to be closer to God by trying to not pay attention to your hunger? Why should somebody struggle to be close to God? Shouldn’t things be facilitated to make it an easier process?
Could one purpose be to weed out those who are faithful to God from those who are unfaithful, or do not believe in, God?
I am just wondering what the overall purpose of fasting is.
Also, how do you force yourself to feel sad about something that you don’t have a physical connection to? I know that Jews lost the temple, and yes, factually speaking, I know it was their place of holy worship in ancient times, and that eventually people hope for a third temple to be built.
But it is kind of hard to make myself feel sad about something in the first place without feeling empathy for it, and second, it feels fake to mourn something that is not particularly important to me personally.
In Judaism, for me, it is way more important to have a thriving Jewish democracy and to improve the situation of Israel as a whole. I’m not really sad about not having a particular building. God is everywhere. Does God hear us better if we pray in a certain location?
Now that said, I do want to be respectful of the holiday and I will say the prayers like everyone else. However, I don’t think I can magically make myself feel a certain way, and to be honest, I’ll probably just be thinking about how hungry I am. And it’s probably good for my health anyway to take a break from ingesting food, and to give my digestive system a rest from working, at the very least.