When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God . . . [Deuteronomy 8:10-14].
Our mind races to record sensations, memorize phenomena, and remain cognizant of what it insists is relevant, important. We try to preserve illusion of reality in intellectual crevices for future reference. In our perpetual struggle to comprehend ourselves, we compile information, accumulate experiences, and amass seemingly meaningful data to be used at appropriate times to fully know and understand, to be wise beyond measure, to prosper or simply survive.
Those who measure God with human scales find faults when God does not measure up or score well according to their personal judgments. They complain about God’s injustice, or the imperfections in the creation, as if they actually understood their origin and destiny. They develop personal standards, however imperfect and inadequate, by which to judge the Creator. Then, they complain about the inadequacies of the Creator in light of their personal philosophies and homemade scriptures.
I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; but when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me. [Hosea 13:4-6 (ESV)].
Almighty God, who created more in an inch of space than we can conceive in a life time of meditation, is Nourisher and Sustainer of a universe too vast to imagine or describe. Before Him we bow, humbled, deprived of any significance except what His mercy offers.
Impetuous behavior, lust, anger, confusion . . . so many of our thoughts and emotions escape our control before we learn to harness them. It takes time to recover them, to bridle them, and restore the damage.
When we slow the process by which our existence proceeds, we can contemplate life from a more detached, controlled perspective. We can judge more intelligently, ponder our actions, weigh our conclusions. We thank You for the awareness emanating from Your mercy, awareness facilitated by what You have prescribed: fasting.
Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. [Proverbs 30:8-9 (ESV)].
Active Feeding on Nothing
A fast can cleanse the mind of the debris of useless knowledge, leaving a clean slate for Divine Providence to leave an extrasensory imprint. Soon, this imprint may again be covered by data dust permitted to reenter through the appetites which rule our wakeful moments. Yet, for a while, during and after the fast, we can treat ourselves to purifying abstinence. Fasting allows us to see our eyes, to have our fingers touch themselves.
Only in the mercy of God is the peace we seek. He it is Who grants that state of grace, in proximity to His True Reality. Most Merciful, Most Forgiving God, we turn to You, humbly asking Your mercy.
May God forgive us and accept our repentance. May He find sincerity in our fasting and purity of intention. May He grant us His mercy and be pleased with our effort to please Him. May He reward our abstention with what is best for us, not with what we desire.
When properly followed, fasting represents the perfect merging of our physical an spiritual natures. Fasting means feeding on a nonmaterial food. It is not a passive abstinence from food, but an active feeding on nothing. [Rabbi Nilton Bonder, The Kabbalah of Food: Conscious Eating for Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Health, p. 97].