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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Tisha B'Av

First and foremost: I hate fasting. All I get out of it is being dizzy and feeling slightly woozy and unable to concentrate. I don't feel more spiritual or less tied to my physical body. If anything, I feel more tied because it's constantly yelling at me: need food. Need water. Why don't you just go to the kitchen and get some food? The kitchen is right over there, with the fridge and the stove and, Hey! microwave, and sink with all the water.

If other people have better experiences, well. I'm jealous. :)

So. We had the salmon pasta salad. Recipe:

Sarah's Pasta

One can salmon
Fresh garlic, sliced
olive oil
black pepper
1/2 package pasta spirals or bowties
frozen peas

Put pot of water up to boil. Heat nonstick pan. Pour in some oil. Put in garlic, and let brown. Add the drained salmon and some vinegar - balsamic is best, but I used cider this time, and it was just fine. Or white wine. That also works. Not lemon juice. Grind pepper. When salmon is heated through, turn off heat.

Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Put frozen peas in the colander and drain the pasta over them. Combine the pasta/peas and the salmon in the pasta pot. Is good hot, room temp and cold. Makes lovely change from gefilte fish on Shabbat. I invented it for a last minute Shabbos guest who was happier not eating land animals, but it's become one of my favorite dishes, and a prefast tradition.

We benched (said grace after meals) and had the final meal - a steamed egg and ashes. Yum. And lots of water. Lots and lots of water. Then it was 8:05 and we stopped eating and drinking.

At 8:40, we picked up our Kinnot - books for the Tisha B'Av service, including the dirges and the Book of Lamentations, and the three prayer services for the day - and walked to synagogue.

The biggest challenge in shul was finding a place to sit. See, we can't sit on normal height chairs, only low ones or the floor. A lot of people sat on milk crates; others brought in beach chairs or other such. This is part of the mourning thing - people sitting shiva also sit in low chairs.

I sat on the floor with my back against a pillar. Finding back support was the main problem, you see. There's only so much wall space.

We said the evening service and then, as we sat on the floor with the lights lowered, we heard the book of Lamentations. This is chanted with one of the saddest and loveliest tunes - Da deeeee da da dee dee, very slowly, and then we read the first four of the kinnot, the dirges, and went home.

Where I went to the bathroom several times before going to sleep and at least twice in the night. Lots of water. :)

At 8AM, Jonathan woke me up before he headed for synagogue. I followed about fifteen minutes later. After all, what did I have to do? No food, no water, no bathing, no clean clothes. I just put on what I'd worn yesterday, picked up my Shabbos keys because I didn't want to lug around my purse and went to shul. I got there in time for the silent prayer, and almost managed to catch up before the repetition.

Morning service is odd on Tisha B'Av, because it's basically a normal morning service but the men do not wear their phylacteries (which they wear every weekday), and the married men didn't wear their prayer shawls (which they do every morning.) They read the haftarah, the portion from prophets (also not read on normal weekdays, except for New Moons) to the same tune, and then we settled in to read about a dozen of the thirty or so dirges, mostly about the Destructions of either or both the First or Second Temples, but two were about the Crusades and the damage they did in Europe, and one was about the Holocaust, with our rabbi giving descriptions and little talks about all of them. It took about 2 1/2 hours, which is a long time to sit on the floor. I ended up sitting in pa-kua forms, and then just standing for a couple kinnot. jonbaker read the first four or five kinnot, btw.

We got a ride home, saving us a five minute walk. :) And then I got back into my nightgown, figuring there was no reason for me to stay dressed, and spent the day mostly reading fanfic or a bio of "Bloody" Mary Tudor, or watching mindless tv, plus catching up on email while Jonathan went to synagogue for afternoon service, taking his phylacteries and prayer shawl, neither of which are normally worn for afternoon service, but this is Tisha B'Av.

I should maybe have read sadder stuff, but my mind doesn't work when I fast. So. Mary Tudor. Fanfic.

We watched "The Amazing Race" together, broke our fast with V-8 juice and leftover pasta salad, and that's that until Yom Kippur.


Just wanted to say that I was LOL at your description of your reaction to fasting. I have never tried fasting, though I usually don't get dizzy or anything when I don't eat for a day or so, but I rarely forget to drink, even when I'm not in the mood to eat, so maybe that makes a difference.

FWIW for example in high school (I notice less people fasting in college, both because there seems to be a much lower percentage of Muslim students and because there are just more people who you know less and have less contact with) those who were fasting during Ramadan didn't seem too enthused about the fasting itself either, unlike for example about the meals during the evening or the festivities at the end of Ramadan. It probably didn't help that the school didn't make any allowances, neither with tests and exams nor with PE, as far as I could see (though some teachers tried to be considerate with scheduling tests and such during Ramadan as much as was possible).

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your "Jewish minutia". I like to learn things and you have a gift for narration and explanation.

Thanks, Mama!


Yeah, that sounds about right. :-) Not drinking is especially hard for me; food I can skip for a day and I won't really care, but take away my caffeine and my water and I get cranky and woozy. I normally drink close to a gallon of water per day, plus other stuff.

Yom Kippur has liturgy to offset all this, so I can usually get through that ok. Tisha b'Av is a real challenge, though.