Jewish Sexuality dot Com
|I Can't Fast|
|Written by HaChida|
|Monday, 10 January 2011|
I’m in my middle sixties, with an assortment of health problems, and I just don’t have the strength to take on all the fasts recommended during the weeks of “Shovavim.” Is there something else I could do instead o rectify my sins?
For people who find fasting difficult, here is some advice from the holy Kabbalist, the “Chida,” who writes:
“A person came to me who wanted to fast during the weeks of Shovavim, but was unable to because he was ill and aging, and sincerely sought a way to rectify his soul. I told him that in his situation of poor health and weakness, he could redeem the fast days with a meaningful amount of charity. And I told him to recite this prayer each day:
“Master of the World, I am very ashamed with terrible embarrassment and filled with self-chastisement over all of my transgressions and sins and wrongdoings, and especially in blemishing the sign of the holy Brit with evil fantasies, until I brought myself to further sin by falling, more than once, to the wiles of the evil inclination, which seeks to cut me off from You, Heaven forbid. Woe is me! Have mercy on me! In Your great compassion, You have opened the way to repentance and rectification of our souls through fasting [which rectifies the Holy Names which we blemished, by fasting 40 days during this period, paralleling the 4 letter Yuds in your Hidden Name of 72 letters, 4 times 10 – the numerical value of Yud, which equals 40]. It is known and revealed before You that I would like to fulfill this tikun-rectification with all of my heart, but, alas, I don’t have the strength and wherewithal to undergo 40 days of consecutive fasting.
“Therefore, I set aside today four coins for charity, as our Sages have taught us to redeem our fasts through money. May it be Your will, L-rd our G-d, and G-d of our forefathers, that it be considered as if I fasted today, and that this tzedakah be considered important, as if I fasted, and that the lessening of my monies be considered like a lessening of my body’s fats which I would have lost through fasting, just as a sacrifice’s fats are brought upon the Temple altar, and that You, in Your goodness, will rectify the Holy Names that I blemished through spilling semen in vain, or through an accidental emission, and release all of the sparks of holiness that were scattered among the impure husks (kelipot) in impure spiritual worlds, as it is written, חיל בלע ויקיאנו, whose initial letters are the Holy Name חבו, from the verse, “He has swallowed down wealth, but will vomit them up again; G-d has cast them out of his belly” (Iyov, 20:15), referring to the forces of evil of the ‘Other Side’ (Sitra Achra) which capture the souls lost through our sins of spilling semen in vain, which You redeem through our heartfelt repentance. Please, Hashem, return all of the Holy Sparks to their rightful holy place, for the sake of Your mercy. Please do it for the sake of Your Holy Name; do it for the sake of Your Torah; do it for the sake of Your holiness. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing before You, L-rd, my rock and my redeemer.”
The learning and tikunim posted on jewishsexuality.com is a good place to begin.
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