Observance of 9 Av
Public Fast Days
The prophets have enacted a law to fast on those days on which tragic events occurred. The object of the fast is to stir our hearts to repentance, and to serve as a reminder of our own evil deeds as well as those of our ancestors, which caused them as well as us, all these troubles. By remembering these events, we will improve our ways, as it is written (Leviticus 26:40): "If they shall confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers." Therefore, it is our sacred duty to examine our evil deeds and to repent, for the fast itself is not the main thing, as it is written concerning the people of Ninveh (Jonah 3:10): "And God saw their works," and our Rabbis, of blessed memory, said (Taanit 16a): "It is not written, 'And God saw their sackcloth and their fast,' but 'And God saw their works, that they had turned from their evil way.'" The fast is intended only as a preparation for repentance. Therefore, those people who fast and spend the day in taking walks and in worthless matters are adhering to an accessory and overlook the principal thing. (Source: Kitsur Shulchan Aruch)
It occurs to me also, that another reason for fasting is that it weakens the body and its desires so that the neshamah can rise up in greater strength to accomplish the work of repentance.
~ Wishing all of Klal Yisrael an easy, meaningful and successful fast ~
[This post was written on 8 Av and scheduled for automatic publication on motzaei"sh, 10 Av]
Shiur Rav Richter Aug 10 2016 Tisha B'Av and Bar Kamtza