Jews all over the world fast today to remember the destruction of the holy Temples in Jerusalem. So will the roving rabbis.

I remember when I was a roving rabbi in Ireland. One of the observances of the fast is that we do not wear leather shoes. I had planned to get a pair of slippers, but we did not have a chance to breathe until late in the evening, just before the fast began. By that time, all the shoe stores in Cork, Ireland, were closed, and I began the fast in stockinged feet. (We Americans learn the hard way that in most of the world there are no stores that are open 24 hours, and groceries do not sell shoes; they sell food.)

The next morning I ran out to get a pair of flip-flops. We had planned a quiet day—not wanting to have to move around too much with no food or drink. But one thing led to another, and we ended up spending the entire day out visiting. Just to add to the fun, it was a fine sunny day, and many of our hosts decided that the back yard would be a perfect place to meet. So there we were, chatting in the hot sun without even a drink. I wonder if they thought we were weird for wearing dress pants and slippers and refusing the refreshing beverages proffered. Hey, thank G‑d we were busy.

When we came “home” that night, we set off the smoke alarm in our hotel room with our bachelor cooking, but that is a post for another time.

I also recall how we spent the day in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. At that time we had only one contact in town. He was a non-Jew who occasionally drove down to the Chabad house in Louisiana for a Torah class. We passed a friendly (but hungry) afternoon chatting with him in his house at the end of a dirt road.

The Temple was destroyed, and our nation fragmented, due to senseless hatred. The roving rabbis are doing their part to glue the fragments back together with love. Let us wish them—and our brethren all over the world—an easy and deeply meaningful fast.