Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky called for the public to fast for half a day on Wednesday, Erev Rosh Chodesh Nissan in a special letter published in the Hebrew Yated Ne’eman on Monday morning.
HaRav Chaim wrote: “There has been much bittul Torah in the past year.” Those close to the Gadol say that Harav Chaim is apparently referring to the bittul Torah caused by the three election campaigns over the past year (four if the municipal elections for mayor are included).
“Each person should be mechazeik with all his koach and try to increase limud haTorah which has the koach to protect and provide relief from all negative things,” Harav Chaim continued.
The full letter in English:
“It says in Yevamos (ס”ג א’) that no punishment comes to the world except for Yisrael. In the past year, due to our many sins, there was much bittul Torah. Therefore it is incumbent upon each and every person to be mechazeik with all his strength to try and increase limud haTorah, which has the koach to protect and save from all illnesses as we are taught in Sotah (21a).
“Also, it is recommended at this time to fast a half a day on Erev Rosh Chodesh Nissan and to recite the Tefillas of Yom Kippur Katan, and the ikar of a taanis is Tefillah. The main part of any fast is the Tefillah, and may hashem listen to our cries and say enough to our tzaros and send a speedy refuah shleimah to all cholei amcha Yisrael.”
“Whoever wants to fast the whole day or half a day should remember to accept the fast on Tuesday in tefillas Mincha and then he can say Aneinu in Mincha on Wednesday. B’dieved it’s possible to accept [the fast] until nightime and some are matir [to accept the fast] also at nightime.
“One who fasts half a day without a kabalah cannot say Aneinu but it’s still a zechus [to fast]. One can say at the time of the kabalah ‘Bli neder’ or ‘until I want’ [but if he didn’t fast until after Mincha he shouldn’t say Aneinu].”
“ואב הרחמים ויאמר למלאך המשחית די במהרה.
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