Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday plans to start a 24-hour fast to show support for immigration reform efforts in Washington, D.C.
The mayor and some members of the Chicago City Council's Latino Caucus plan to go without food from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 p.m. Friday. They'll begin fasting at an evening mass in honor of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Pius Church in the Pilsen neighborhood.
The local fast comes as activists from immigrant rights groups have taken turns fasting in the National Mall in Washington since last month to try to pressure Congress into approving a reform bill.
The Senate approved a sweeping, bipartisan immigration bill over the summer, but it has stalled in the House. Republicans who control the chamber are divided over providing a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the U.S. without legal status. An immigration vote is not expected this month as congressional leaders focus on securing approval for a budget deal before heading home for the holidays.
In a statement, Emanuel talked about why he'll go without food for 24 hours.
“On the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we join people from all over the country who are making an incredible sacrifice to remind our leaders what is at stake in the fight for immigration reform,” he said. “We are sending a clear message to Congress that the time is now for comprehensive immigration reform, it just cannot wait any longer.”
For Emanuel, the fast also represents a way to respond to lingering criticism about his involvement on the immigration issue when he was serving as President Barack Obama's first White House chief of staff. Emanuel is viewed as steering Obama away from an immigration reform push during his first year in office because it would have been politically difficult to get a bill through Congress. The president instead focused on health care and what became the Affordable Care Act.
Ald. Danny Solis, 25th, also plans to take part in the fast.
“Every day I see how our country’s broken immigration system affects undocumented families in my ward, whether its parents taking their kids to school, entrepreneurs running their businesses, or people living their lives, no one should live in the shadows,” Solis said in a statement. “I’m proud to stand with the mayor and my fellow City Council members to let Washington know that their unacceptable inaction is tearing families apart in cities and neighborhoods across the country.”
As I hadn't posted in a while, there are lots of links. I organized them differently than usual and due to the length, did not provide the source. You'll have to click (or roll-over) to see the source.
ובתחלת השבוע (שמיטה) השנה הראשונה אין בו מטר ובשניה חצי רעב ובשלישית יהיה רעב גדול ולא יהיה מטר וברביעית בינונית ובחמישית יהיה שובע גדול ובששית יצמח כוכב אחד ממזרח ובראשו שבט של אש כמו רומח ואומרים אומות העולם כוכב זה לנו הוא, ואינו כן אלא משל ישראל שנאמר דרך כוכב מיעקב, ועת זריחתו באשמורת הראשונה של לילה עד ב׳ שעות ויאסף ט״ו יום במזרח וסובב למערב ועושה ט"ו ימים ואם יתר הוא טוב לישראל
And in the beginning of the seven-year cycle, the first year has no rain. In the second year, there is a half-famine. In the third year, there will be a great famine and there will be no rain. And in the fourth year, mediocre. And in the fifth year, there will be great plenty.
I'm interrupting the translation to bring you this chart from Israel's Water Authority showing the Kinneret level since 2004. Notice that the first year after Shemitta in this cycle, 5769, had very little rain. The next year, 5770, was not much better and we were still below the lower red line, causing there to be 2 years in a row of under-lower-red-line water levels, which is why it's called a "half-famine". The next year, 5771, still kept us under the lower red line for most of the year, causing 3 years in a row of this situation, earning it the distinction of a "great famine". The fourth year, 5772, was a good rain year, which got us out over the lower red line. The fifth year, 5773, was B"H a very good rain year, earning it the distinction of "great plenty".
And in the sixth year, one star will sprout, and on its head is a staff of fire like a spear. And the nations of the world say, "It is ours!", but it is not true - rather, it belongs to Israel, as it says, "There shall step forth a star out of Jacob". And the time of its shining is in the first watch of the night until 2 hours. And it will gather for 15 days in the east and turn around to the west and do 15 days. And if it lasts longer, it is good for Israel.
While I am aware that there are multiple versions of this Midrash (such as those mentioned here and on the page following), at least this version seems to be promising. And as all these Midrashim continue, it is viewed as a sign for Mashiah.
They wrote to me that it's possible that the four exiles concluded in the year 5674. And that's when a shortened period of the four exiles began. That is when the nations strengthened themselves before the conclusion of their purpose.
The Babylonian Exile corresponds to the first period - of World War I, where in Russia, they tried a period of Shmad similar to the idol of Nevuchadnetzar.
The Median Exile corresponds to World War II, and that which Haman did not succeed in doing, Hitler YM"S did succeed in doing.
The Greek Exile corresponds to the Zionist State [YY - It seems to me that Rav Fish here refers to the Mapai/Labor secular Zionists], and that which the Greeks did not succeed in uprooting religion, the [secular] Zionists did succeed.
The Edomite Exile corresponds to the final stage from the year 5737 [YY - when the Likud took over the government] and just like the Romans originally had a strong bond with Judea, but afterwards, gained power, destroyed the Beit Hamikdash, and decreed not to learn Torah, the same thing is happening now. Originally, there were helpful ties with the [secular Likud] Zionists, but afterwards, came a period where they're trying to destroy every remnant of holiness [along with their coalition partners].
And this entire period - from 5674 until 5774 [תרע"ד עד תשע"ד] - corresponds to the verse בִּטְחוּ בַיהוָה, עֲדֵי-עַד and the verse לְהִשָּׁמְדָם עֲדֵי-עַד. From ע"ד until ע"ד.