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Monday, July 20, 2009

A different approach

In years past I have gone through what I considered the unavoidable agony of weaning myself off of caffeine a week or so before fast days, all in order to avoid the agony of caffeine withdrawal during the fast itself.

If you read that first, breathless run-on sentence carefully, you probably already see the logical flaw in this system.  It's kind of like... well, for the first time I'm actually stumped for an analogy.  This business of suffering for several days in order to avoid suffering for one day (actually only part of one day, if you think about it; the last couple of hours of the fast), lacks even an adequate analog!

Last year before Tisha B'Av I decided that I'd had enough... that I wasn't going to go through a week of withdrawal, and instead simply drank my regular big mug of coffee in the morning.  However, on the day before the fast, I had my regular mug of coffee in the morning... plus another [really strong] one just before the fast.   

Worked like a charm!  I didn't start to feel the small twinge of a caffeine headache until just before the fast was over.  And a cup of good strong tea took care of that chik chak (as we say here).

So in honor of this pleasant discovery of a different approach to weathering a fast, I'm going to share a nifty little product which offers a different approach to enjoying tea and coffee:

On some of my recent business trips to India and Sri Lanka I have developed a taste for good tea.  Or more correctly, I've lost my taste for mediocre tea.  I didn't realize what I was missing out on until I started buying the fresh, loose tea and preparing it properly.  That right there is advice worth every penny!

But in order to prepare loose tea in such a way that you don't end up with a smile full of leaves, you need to have a 'tea ball', spoon or filter pot... all things that have to be washed.  As the primary dish-washer in our house, this was a small, but obvious annoyance. 

That is, until I discovered (thanks to one of my thoughtful readers) paper tea filters.  These are essentially empty tea bags that you fill with the fresh tea or coffee of your choice... and enjoy as you would pre-bagged tea (actually, more so).

The only difference is the taste, since fresh, loose tea and freshly ground coffee make for the best drinking experience.  And if you are going on the road, packing a handful of your custom-loaded tea or coffee bags will offer you a small measure of home comfort, even halfway around the world.

So there you go... two handy tips in one (relatively) short post.  Don't thank me... I'm a giver.

Posted by David Bogner on July 20, 2009 | Permalink


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However, on the day before the fast, I had my regular mug of coffee in the morning... plus another [really strong] one just before the fast.
I did that too for Yom Kippur last year and marveled at the result.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Jul 20, 2009 2:29:19 PM

you can also always try caffeine suppositories. I think they also make ones with tylanol and caffeine.

Posted by: rescue | Jul 20, 2009 2:55:27 PM

Ilana-Davita ... Great minds think alike. :-)

rescue... What the... I mean really, do I present myself as someone who runs to shove things up his butt at the first sign of trouble??? Do I?! The last time I wrote about caffeine withdrawal, about 20 helpful sadists stepped forward to offer the same advice. What the heck people?! I obey the traffic laws, and that there is a one-way street! Do Not Enter!!! You want to put things in your rear end to make your head feel better? Feel free, but leave me out of it. Sheesh!!!!

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jul 20, 2009 3:03:55 PM

Just curious, do you actually sleep the night of the fast?

Posted by: Rachel | Jul 20, 2009 3:09:45 PM

mr. wasserman didn't hip you to the no-doze trick?

Posted by: roberti | Jul 20, 2009 4:38:09 PM

some other helpful tips to get you thru the fast (dont thank ME I am also a giver lol)


Posted by: Hadassah | Jul 20, 2009 5:01:28 PM

no word verification anymore trep? you trust us to behave?

Posted by: Hadassah | Jul 20, 2009 5:01:49 PM

I never liked tea - no flavour and no umph - until our Sri Lankan neighbours invited us over for tea.
That was the most flavourful cup of tea I have ever had - but still no umph.

Someone recently showed me a new tea pot with a metal strainer built into it just under the lid. Sorry, no details on that.
Also, Lipton makes a good Sri Lankan tea blend that comes in pyramid shaped bags. Is it available in Israel? - if so it is worth a try.

I wish you and Zahava an easy fast.


Posted by: Lisa | Jul 20, 2009 6:49:50 PM

So what do you do before the 9 days? Eat a huge steak? Oh, now I did it... I'm hungry for steak...

(hope this doesn't double post, I got an error message before.)

Posted by: JDMDad | Jul 20, 2009 8:47:24 PM

Thanks for the tea-bag advice... we are gallivanting around western Europe, still, and now I have 3 people in the family who very much appreciate a good cup of English tea! ;o/

Sadly, I am not yet one of them; still myself a raging soda-pop drinker when I can get the stuff.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jul 20, 2009 10:10:26 PM

So, like, these are available in Mr. Zol? In Supersol? Or I gotta go do mail order?

Posted by: Fred | Jul 20, 2009 10:45:49 PM

Well, the caffeine jones could be a problem. I start getting twitchy if I don't have caffeine for four or so hours. But then I have no intention of fasting.....

A friend uses nicotine patches for the fast, as well as for airline trips. Perhaps someone should develope a caffeine patch.

Wishing everyone who wil fast an easy and gebentshte fast.

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | Jul 21, 2009 3:31:37 AM

What about eggnog?
Hey, Mr. Eggnog - here's a link for you:

Posted by: Ben-David | Jul 22, 2009 7:11:25 PM

Why can't you just take a caffeine pill on tisha b'av itself? From what I've learnt, it's not considered achila....

Posted by: Hadassah | Jul 29, 2009 12:26:35 PM

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