July 15, 2013

Fasting and Eating

This evening Jews throughout the world will begin a 25-hour mourning period that includes fasting for the destruction of the First and Second Temple. Tisha B’Av (the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av) culminates the Nine Days of Mourning where no meat is eaten and the three weeks that marked the beginning of the destruction of the Temple. Legend has it that one Tisha B'Av Napoleon Bonaparte was walking through the streets of Paris when he heard bitter wailing coming from inside a building. When he walked in he saw a group of Jews sitting on the floor saying kinos (special prayers of mourning) and crying. He asked them, "Why are you crying?" They answered that, "Jerusalem was overrun and the Temple destroyed" 1600 years earlier. An astounded Napolean replied, "If you are still crying 16 centuries later I have no doubt that one day your temple will be rebuilt."

Adapting to the kosher calendar is a fundamental activity in serving kosher consumers. Jewel Osco in its ad features both the dairy and fish dishes for the Nine Days as well as meat products that will no doubt be consumed on Wednesday. In many stores, the rush was on for the meals today before the fast and for breaking the fast tomorrow evening. Some stores will sell the post fast products tomorrow, on the fast day itself. Although Jews fast for approximately 25 hours, it does not represent a decline in food sales. On the contrary, some retailers told me that sales actually increase during the week of Tisha B’Av. 

I guess that for most kosher consumers, with the exception of the elderly and the ill, fasting well goes along with eating well before and after the fast. Of course, if the Moshiach comes and the Temple is rebuilt the celebration alone will be great for kosher. Amen!

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons