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Fast Food on Yom Kippur?

Wednesday, 9 October, 2019 - 9:39 pm

 

Question of the Week:  

 

As you know, I love food, so Yom Kippur is not my favourite day of the year. Is the idea that we are punishing ourselves for our sins? Maybe we can do that some other way, like banging our head on a wall. I'd happily do that if I could eat...

 

Answer:

 

A man called his elderly Jewish mother, who was living in a faraway retirement home. "Mum, how are you feeling?" 

 

"Not too good," said the mother. "I've been very weak." 

 

The son said, "Why are you so weak?" She said, "It's not so surprising. I haven't eaten in 28 days, I shouldn't be weak?" 

 

"That's terrible," says her son. "Why haven't you eaten in 28 days?" 

 

The mother answered, "Because I didn't want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call."

 

This is why we fast. We don't want our mouth to be full of food when G-d calls. 

 

Yom Kippur is the day our soul gets a direct infusion of G-d energy. We each receive a moment of intimacy, face to face with our Creator. We step away from the physical act of eating to reach a higher and more spiritual place. G-d is calling on us on this day, and we don't want to be preoccupied with bodily needs. 

 

We are only human, and it is not easy for us to not eat and drink. But if you let yourself be swept up by the power of the day, you will actually feel at some point that your life force is coming from something higher than food. You feel a surge of strength coming from somewhere beyond. Call it spiritual fast food, a deeper source of life that transcends our bodily self. 

 

This is not a punishment. On the contrary, it is an awesome privilege to receive sustenance not from food but directly from G-d. You can't possibly be the same person after such a holy experience. 

 

Get ready. G-d is about to call you. Don't be caught with your mouth full. 

 

Good Shabbos and Good Yomtov, may you be sealed for a good year!

Rabbi Moss

 

Sources:

Sefer Hasichos 5747 p2 onwards

R' Yisroel of Rizhin explained the Torah command to "afflict your soul" on Yom Kippur as meaning "give your soul a voice." The Hebrew word "afflict" (V'inisem) can be translated "to elicit a response." 

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