By |16 Sep 2023 at 11:39 PM
Gedaliah Fast 2023: Date, History, Facts about Fasting

This year, Gedaliah Fast is on September 18. Also known as the ‘fast of the seventh month,’ it commemorates the assassination of Gedaliah Ben Ahikam and the tragic results for the Jewish people. But of all the famous biblical figures, why is this man’s death commemorated? Why does Gedaliah, a man whom the majority of us have never heard of, observe his own fast? Why is this fast day so near to the Jewish New Year? Gedaliah is more than just a commemoration of a historical calamity; the man himself represents a significant turning point in the Jewish people’s history.

The background of Gedaliah Fast

The Fast of Gedaliah, or Tzom Gedaliah in Hebrew, is one of four fast days established by the Rabbis to commemorate the destruction of the Temple and the consequent exile of the Israelites. It is observed on the third of Tishrei, the day after Rosh Hashanah, from dawn until dusk. The assassination of Gedaliah is briefly recounted at the conclusion of 2 Kings, verses 22-26. Jeremiah 41 provides a more comprehensive account of the event.

After destroying the first Temple in Jerusalem, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar exiled the Jews. Under the administration of Gedaliah, a Jewish governor appointed by Babylonia, a small number of Jews were permitted to remain in the region. Gedaliah was a just ruler, and under his authority, the Jews were able to live in peace. In fact, a great number of Jews returned from exile, and the region flourished. Even though this could not mitigate for the Temple’s loss, it was a welcome respite from their recent history of tremendous struggles and oppression.

Sadly, this reprieve was only temporary. For political purposes, the king of Ammon convinced a fellow Jew, Yishmael Ben Nethaniah, to kill Gedaliah. Yishmael killed not only Gedaliah but also a large number of Jews and Babylonians who were with him. Fearing Nebuchadnezzar’s retaliation, the last Jews fled to Egypt, effectively terminating the exile.

Even though a fast day bears his name, little is known about Gedaliah Ben Ahikam. According to reports, Gedaliah was warned about the assassination attempt, but he disregarded the allegations as slander. Instead, he enthusiastically greeted Yishmael Ben Netaniah as his Rosh Hashanah guest, an act of generosity that ultimately cost him his life.

Although Gedaliah’s trust in this situation was misplaced, it reveals much about his character. He was so cautious not to judge another Jew or suspect another’s motives that he purposely confronted a potentially dangerous situation rather than offend a guest. Gedaliah could also be considered an illustration of national loyalty. If all Jews shared his perspective, we would no longer observe Tzom Gedaliah.

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Intermittent fasting allows your digestive system to rest, which may rev up your metabolism and improve your ability to expend calories.

Believe it or not, the less you consume, the less strain you place on your digestive system, and the longer you will live. Several studies have demonstrated that the diets of various civilizations extended people’s lifespan — the less you consume, the less strain you place on your digestive system.

It has been demonstrated that fasting improves brain function by enhancing the production of a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

Through practises such as reading, meditation, yoga, and martial arts, among others, fasting has helped many people feel more connected to life.

Since at least the 5th century B.C., when the Greek physician Hippocrates recommended abstinence from food and drink for patients exhibiting specific symptoms of illness, fasting has been used therapeutically.


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