Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
This Book treats of public fasts, and the manner in which they are to be observed. These fasts are either occasional, or annual and permanent: occasional fasts are those instituted as means of public repentance, humiliation, and prayer, to beseech the Almighty's protection and help in respect to some calamity which then had happened, and which fasts, of course, cease with the occasion for which they were ordered. The annual and permanent fasts are those observed on the anniversaries of unhappy events, which, in former periods of the history of the nation, had befallen them.
This Treatise is chiefly occupied with the first kind of fasts above mentioned, particularly with those formerly kept in Palestine on account of a continued drought, which in that, and in other countries having the same climate, is one of the greatest calamities that can happen to the inhabitants; the Mishna, therefore, opens with that subject.