Shabbat Yom Kippur


Today – October 2, 2011 – is Tzom Gedalia, a fast day albeit a “short” one that lasts only sunrise to sundown. It is part of our preparations for Yom Kippur, which arrives next week. On Shabbat.

That’s right, you can fast on a Shabbat, but only if it’s Yom Kippur. Any other fast day that falls on Shabbat gets cancelled or moved.

So, no theme this week because there’s no food next week. But I still have a food-related (or absence-of-food – related) thought:

One of the ways we know that Yom Kippur is the “Shabbat of Shabbats” is that it, of all the fast holidays, is allowed to pre-empt our weekly celebration of peace, gladness and plenty.

But not exactly…

There are a number of minor fast days such as the one today – a short fast from dawn to dark. But there are only two days that are full 25-hour fasts: Tisha B’Av, where we mark the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, along with a host of other tragedies that have afflicted the Jewish people as a whole; and Yom Kippur, when we celebrate (?) the Day of Atonement.

The Kotzker Rebbe is quoted as saying that

“we have no fast days in Judaism. On Yom Kippur, who wants to eat? And on Tisha B’Av, who can eat?!

Unwinding that a bit, what he was saying is that on Tisha B’Av we are so filled with sadness that we can’t bring ourselves to eat; and on Yom Kippur we are so elevated in our spiritual levels that we transcend the need to eat.

I’d like to wish everyone a meaningful fast – both this week and next – and a year of peace, personal growth and prosperity.

L’Shana Tova
– Leon