I can’t fast this year. I’ve been sick for about five days and I know that fasting with result in my falling face first onto the synagogue floor. Everyone who rushed to me would end up scolding me for being so ridiculous. So, I’m circumventing that and not fasting.
A lot of people think that fasting for Yom Kippur is right up there with total holiness. But if you read the teachings of the rabbis, you’ll see that taking care of yourself – and the one body God gave you – is way up at the top. I knew my friend, Rabbi Ruth Adar, had written about this a few years ago and I went to find her article, Physical and Mental Health During the High Holy Days. In it she articulates the commandment to “choose life” and how to go about doing so.
I also read an article, How to Do Yom Kippur Without Fasting, by a woman who has an eating disorder and must never fast. I liked the ideas she gave herself to keep the day forefront in her mind, like eating round foods.
Third, I read and loved this article, 4 Ways Kids Can Participate on Yom Kippur! These four suggested behaviors are significantly more meaningful than merely fasting. I shared the articles I found with my friend, Rabbi Ruth, who said, “I am glad you are taking care of yourself. I like to remember what Isaiah says about the fast God desires: not the forgoing of food but deeds of righteousness and care for those who are suffering.”
Wishing you a healthy and happy year.
Gemar chatimah tovah