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Described as unprecedented: Orthodox Jews call for three-day fast in Israel

Soldiers with Israel's defense forces praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Mor/Flickr/Creative Commons

Soldiers with Israel’s defense forces praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Mor/Flickr/Creative Commons

Describing it as unprecedented, Breaking Israel News (BIN), a Jewish news site, is reporting the Orthodox Jewish group HaTzom is calling for Israelis to fast for three days commencing Sunday night, March 20.

The fast, which will end 72 hours later, will be done during the Jewish feast of Purim, held annually this time of year.

The feast of Purim is derived from the Book of Esther when Queen Esther called for Jews to fast for three days before she entered the throne room of her husband, the Persian king, to expose a planned massacre of the Jews organized by a senior bureaucrat in the Persian administration.

HaTzom, whose name in English means “The Fast,” has over 22,000 participants agreeing to join in the three-day fast. They organized the fast because of the unrelenting terrorist attacks in Israel and the growing hatred around the world to their country.

BIN recently reported three attacks that took place on March 8 and 9. On the first day, Palestinians riding motorbikes opened fire on Jerusalem police guarding a checkpoint, critically injuring two. The next day terrorists turned their guns on a bus in one incident and passing civilian vehicles at a different location in the city. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt in these latter two attacks.

The following website lists all the terrorist attacks against Israel that resulted in Jewish fatalities. It does not include those attacks, happening almost daily, where no Israelis died.

HaTzom provides information on how people can safely fast for three days and as well instructions on how a person can take part even if they have health restrictions.

On their website, the group said, “fasting is required for public tragedy until we receive complete mercy. During these fast days, we need to cry in prayers — pleading for relief.”

During the fast, the group will be reciting a number of Psalms through their Internet Radio station (such as Psalms 20, 83, 102, 121 and 142) that cry out to God for help.

The fast not only reveals a growing frustration in the country, but may also suggest a rising spiritual hunger among Jews.

When we fast, it adds octane or power to our prayers. We can see this in Isaiah’s description about the incredible power available through fasting done with the right motives:

“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6 NASV)

To loosen the bonds of wickedness:

The Hebrew word for bonds refers to bands or chains tightly wrapped around a person. But the Hebrew word wickedness (resa) is different from what we would typically think.

It includes the idea of fraud or deception. The same word [translated deceptive in the NASV] is used in Micah 6:11 to describe false balances used to deceive people.

Fasting breaks deceptions, false beliefs or delusions clouding people’s thinking. This passage also reveals that at times our bondage is more mental than physical.

Fasting can break this blindness and allow a person to see the truth.

To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free:

Fasting also undoes the straps or bands that hold a yoke firmly in place.

The yoke referred to a heavy contraption put upon the neck of an oxen to control it. It was intentionally created to cause a raw wound on the neck and shoulder, so a tug on the reigns would immediately cause the ox to turn to relieve the sharp pain.

Fasting can help set people “free” from past emotional hurts, things that have controlled them for years even decades.

The same Hebrew word for “free” (hapsi) is used in Deuteronomy 15:12-13 to describe a slave being set free. Sometimes we are literally enslaved by events that happened to us years ago. God wants to set you free.

To break every yoke:

But I love how this verse shows the progression to deliverance.  The Hebrew word for break “ntq” means to rip off or tear away. Once these straps are released, the yoke is then torn off a person. The oppressed are completely free from their bondage.

Most Jews do not believe Jesus is their Messiah as they are blinded to that truth (2 Corinthians 4:4). But the Bible talks of a future day when they will accept Jesus as their Messiah (Romans 11:26).

Perhaps this call for a national fast is setting the stage for an unprecedented revival in Israel.


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