Rabbi Ari Preminger of Hackensack, NJ admitted that most of the fast days in Judaism, barring Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av are kind of lame. While almost everyone has heard of Yom Kippur, Tisha B’Av is less known by most, but almost all Orthodox Jews observe it as a day of mourning the destruction of both Temples. Rabbi Preminger is board member of the OU and had this to say about some of the other minor fast days: “Asara B’Tevet? Seriously? I mean, sure a siege of Jerusalem is annoying, but for this I gotta skip my coffee in the morning? No one even died! What’s next, we come up with a fast day because a guy thought about doing something bad?“
Another rabbi who did not want to be identified, but simply known as “Chris” had this to say. “I always wanted to be a Chris! It’s funny no? Me, a big black hat and a beard, and then you could say, ‘Hey Chris!’ and I’d turn around? Funny stuff.” After reminding the rabbi what the topic of the article was about, Chris spoke very honestly. “I’m telling you straight up, half the time when someone asks me what Shiva Asar B’Tamuz is about, I confuse it with one of the other ones. I tried to go halfsies on that one but I got hungry so what can you do?”
Tsom Gedalia, a minor fast day immediately after Rosh Hashanah, was discussed by another board certified rabbi who also wanted to be known as “Chris”. “Did Rabbi Birnbaum take the Chris name?! I told him I was going to do that! I thought of doing that first!” After calming down, the second Chris explained that it’s about a guy named Gedalia who was killed and that’s really all most people know about. “They tried to give me this, ‘Well, it’s right after Rosh Hashanah and we’ve all eaten a lot, blah blah…’ Yeah, right, like I’m gonna fall for that one.“
Perhaps the most minor fast is the Fast of Esther immediately preceding Purim. Few, if any of the rabbis actually knew the reason for instituting it. Rabbi “Paul” had this to say: “I knew Rabbi Birnbaum and Rabbi Gold would fight over the Chris thing, so I went with Paul. Oh! The Fast of Esther! Right, well I think Purim is such a happy holiday, and you know how we are, God forbid we have too much joy in our lives, so they came up with this fast day. I know maybe two, three people who actually keep it.”
While many of the rabbis do keep the fasts publicly, more than half admitted to grabbing some nosh in private.