Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rant #811: The Fast and the Yom Kippur

The holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, begins at sundown today, and lasts roughly until sundown tomorrow.

It is not a joyous holiday, but a time of reflection, for Jews around the world.

A few years ago I posted a Rant about the holiday, and it pretty much still stands.

So, with some alterations, here it is again:

"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 not go to synagogue, and this year, I will not be fasting, since I am under medication. Jewish law provides for that. God will not strike me down. I fasted for years, but unfortunately, I can't do it anymore.

However, from my personal experience, 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.

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 can't do it, either..

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 had been doing continually since I was 12 or 13, so I was pretty much used to it.

But those days are now over. It happened to my mom and dad too, and now it has happened to me. I wish I could do it, but health-wise, I simply can't anymore.

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

I will be taking a day off for the holiday tomorrow, and I will speak to you again on Thursday.

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