Sunday, September 27, 2009

They are Puzzled

A quick trip to the market this morning, downpour and all, and then an excruciatingly slow wait on line. Luckily someone I know from the neighborhood was also on line so we talked to pass the time. Now, what else do you talk about eruv Yom Kippur if not the fast? So we commiserated that it was going to be miserable walking to get to shul with all the rain and storms predicted. And she offered that her doctor had told her to drink lots of those sports drinks with electrolytes before the fast to help with dehydration and the inevitable headache.

And one of us mentioned the 25 hours the fast would take--and suddenly others on the line, including the check out person were staring at us. "You have fasts that last 25 hours?!" "What do you mean you can't drink--that's not eating?!" One person commented "At least you can get into bed and sleep through it if you have to." Should have seen his face when my friend explained that we were in Synagogue for the evening and for most of the day. Then he made another interesting comment: "Just how much praying to you get done when you're feeling lousy from fasting? Doesn't the fast defeat the purpose of all that praying?"

There was no way to get into an answer to that and still get home to cook, so we didn't bother. How do you explain the power of tefillah on Yom Kippur? How do you explain kavanah in davening? How do you explain knowing you are standing to be judged and opening your heart to God? How do you explain that hope and faith, and yes, fear, get you through the day? And no, I'm not forgetting that many, myself included, do not fast well. How do you explain that prayer trumps pain and you do what you have to, need to do? And then there is this: God said to do it this way, so we do it this way.

That being said, a G'mar Chasima Tova to all. And yes, an easy fast.


Anonymous said...

For you and your family too hopes for a Gmar Tov and for a year filled with good. Yeah, really tough to explain our way of fasting. My co-workers look at me like I'm crazy and say they couldn't do it.

Lion of Zion said...

non-jews are always amazed when i tell that fasting really means *nothing*
in general, most "fasts" in other religions i've encountered aren't total 25 hour fasts

Anonymous said...

They think fasting means not eating a lot. :-D

It gets better when I tell them that my 88 year old grandmother doesn't even break her fast. She packs, has a cup of coffee, goes home, and goes to sleep. The jaws drop.

I don't know - I've never found fasting very difficult. I think people just have to give it a try.