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Jewish Holidays

Haftarah Helper: Fast Days

Download PDF Isaiah 55:6–56:8 Ashkenazim read this Haftarah at Mincha on all fast days except for Yom Kippur.  (Sepharadim generally recite no Haftarah on these days.) This is done to encourage the giving of charity, which the Talmud deems the most important aspect of fast days: Tosafot on Megillah 21a-  s.v. “One who Reads” תוספות […]

Taanit Esther and the Community

February 22, 2018, by

It’s always interesting to see how different people can read the same text so very differently, and it is often enlightening to read a text through another’s eyes. Years ago, I was teaching an adult education class designed for beginner students, from all backgrounds and streams of Judaism, to build skills in learning halachic texts. […]

Fast of Esther: Convergence

March 8, 2017, by

In both phase 1 and phase 2 of defeating Haman (fasting/praying and battling their enemies) there is an emphasis on gathering together. Taanit Esther commemorates both these events. The Maharal explains the emphasis on gathering.

The Fast of Esther (13th of Adar)

February 13, 2014, by

On the 13th of Adar (sometimes the 11th – see explanation below), the Fast of Esther is observed in commemoration of the Fast observed by Mordechai and Esther and all Israel. On that very day, the enemies of the Jews had planned to subjugate and destroy them. The opposite, however, occurred and the Jews ruled […]