Friday, September 17, 2010

Rant #335: A Time To Reflect ... and Not Eat

Yom Kippur begins tonight at sundown.

For Jews around the world, this is the holiest time of the year, the time where we pause to reflect on what we did the past year and how we can begin anew in the new year.

Even many non-observant Jews follow this holiday, and this is the only time that they venture into a synagogue during the entire calendar year.

Prayer and reflection are paramount here, as is refraining from drinking or eating anything for the duration of the holiday.

Some Jews don't even bathe, watch television, drive cars or do anything but pray and fast during this period, which ends tomorrow night at sundown, or when the shofar is blown at Yom Kippur services.

I, personally, don't go to that extreme. I do go to synagogue, even if it is for a very short period of time, and I do fast.

Fasting is not hard to do. Sure, it takes you out of your routine, but it really isn't that difficult to do for a day.

What is difficult is doing it while you are in synagogue. The constant getting up and sitting down--when the Torah is displayed--makes it very difficult.

I remember in the old days, you would hear women crying in the back of the synagogue. Not eating can do that to you.

I am the only one in my family who can fast like this, and I probably shouldn't continue to do it either. I do take a pill for cholesterol each day, and if I skip a day, who knows what it is doing to my insides. My wife said that I really shouldn't do it anymore, but I will do it until I can't, I guess.

As far as my family, my wife has tried and can't do it, my son the same, my daughter, I know she has tried but she lives 300 miles away in her own world, and my parents just can't do it anymore because of all the pills they take.

So it is left to me in my family to carry on this tradition. Alas, when I have to stop doing it, that will probably be it for my family.

I have to tell you, after I fast I feel very, very good. It is almost as if everything bad in my body has been cleansed out of it by fasting. I might have a little buzz headache, but this is something I have been doing continually since I was 12 or 13, so I am pretty much used to it.

(I admit, during two years I couldn't fast because I was sick.)

So to all my Jewish friends, and to all of those people I know who aren't, Happy New Year to everyone.

And it makes me feel good to say that.

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