Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

How to prepare for and maintain the fast day?

It’s like celebrating Shabbat. You need to prepare for it to be a success.

  • The whole 24-hour before, drink an excess of water. If you dislike the taste, add a little lemon or (apple) vinegar.
  • Avoid anything that removes water from your body: excess exercise and being in the sun (perspiration), drinking caffeine or alcohol, taking in too much protein, salt, and sugar, and usage of laxatives.
  • All-day, eat or drink stuff made from plant cells: fruit, veggies, roots.
  • Don’t eat a lot of calories. Eat small meals spread out over the day. Preferably fiber-rich foods that need chewing and are tasty to you.
  • Take a nap in the afternoon.
  • Make sure that you know when to not fast or to stop fasting because you’re not well enough or start feeling unwell, or when in doubt, have a phone number of someone who can help you decide.
  • You either must fast or must eat. There is no ‘I should eat but I won’t’ or ‘I should fast but I won’t.’ When you must eat it’s not a sin but if you then refuse to eat, that’s a sin. Mild discomfort is OK but there is no permission to hurt or endanger our health.
  • It is more important to fast than to join a prayer group or say all the prayers if that would force you to not complete the fast.
  • Understand why we fast, namely: to join those who mourn the destruction of the Temple, to take responsibility for repairing the world so that this can change, and especially to put more emphasis on being humane and giving with each other.
  • Repent: try to take upon yourself small random acts of charity, think of your close ones first (charity starts at home), including yourself.
  • Spend your time positively. Instead of wasting the day, try to learn Jewish stuff that doesn’t make you happy but is good to know: Jewish Law about death, history about the Holocaust, etc.
  • Don’t get angry. Cry when you feel upset. If not now, when?
  • Take a nap in the afternoon.
  • Understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Spread out any efforts and stay calm.
  • Don’t do things that violate the essence of the day: to idle it away in entertainment, gossip (Heaven forbid), or frivolity. If you get very lonely from not chatting (corona), chat before and after the day.
  • Don’t allow yourself to get depressed/hopeless/down. You either cry so that you can feel good again, or you keep thinking how grateful you are to be able to do this important work. Be happy to mourn.

Have a healthy fast and may we see good results.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry, and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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