Taanit Esther – Festival?

This morning, Taanit Esther, they left out Tachanun and Avinu Malkeinu at the small Chassidic “Shtieble” where I occasionally daven. We usually skip these prayers on holidays, but today was a fast day?

The character of Taanit Esther is unlike other fast days. Taanit Esther is actually part of Purim. On Purim we celebrate our physical existence by feeding our bodies. On Taanit Esther, we nourish our souls by fasting. Only when combined do Taanit Esther and Purim become a complete and total religious experience.

This same idea also relates to Yom Kippur, which our sages compare to Purim (Yom Ki-Purim). On the day before Yom Kippur, it is a Mitzvah to eat a big meal, the reward for which is equated to the reward for fasting the entire next day.

Man needs both the physical and the spiritual to be complete. Taanit Esther/Purim and Yom Kippurim teach us how to achieve success in both.

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