Every fast day has a special energy of Divine goodwill, greater than a regular day. On each fast day, we hear the Torah reading of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy at both the morning and afternoon services. These attributes represent the boundless kindness of Hashem. In addition, the Haftorah read on fast days enjoins us to “Seek G-d while He may be found, call Him when He is near.”
This Divine goodwill is especially apparent on Tzom Gedaliah because it occurs during the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. According to the Zohar, it is during the Ten Days of Repentance when Hashem’s Thirteen Attributes of Mercy are revealed to the world. According to some opinions, this is due to the elevated days of teshuvah, and according to other opinions it is due to the great unity of Jews praying together during this time, which has the power to bring Hashem closer to man.
According to the Sages, an individual’s prayer is very strong during the Ten Days of Repentance, and can have the same power as group prayer. How much more so, when an entire community prays together during the Ten Days of Repentance, the power of their prayer reaches the highest levels! Along these lines, the communal fasting undertaken on Tzom Gedaliah has an even greater influence than other fasts during the year, because it takes place during the Ten Days of Repentance, where our powers of prayer and teshuvah are heightened.
The great and boundless power for good that occurs during a communal fast is similar to the power of goodness that will be revealed during the Final Redemption. In fact, the Haftorah read on each fast day concludes with the prophecies that will be fulfilled during the Redemption, including, “And My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
The goodness and strength of each communal fast day will be revealed during the Redemption when all of the fast days will be nullified and transformed into holidays of celebration. Tzom Gedaliah commemorates Gedaliah ben Achikam, who governed the Jews after the Babylonian conquest. According to some opinions, Gedaliah was a scion of Dovid HaMelech, and the last member of the royal family to have authority over Eretz Yisroel. Gedaliah is the link between the day of Divine goodwill and Moshiach ben Dovid, who will bring us out of Golus and into the era where Divine goodwill will be revealed each and every day, bimheira v’yameinu.