Scenes from Yom Kippur: Foul-Mouthed Angel

Of all the things to know about Yom Kippur, the one that is ubiquitous is that you can’t eat. In fact, nothing – food, water, etc should not pass your lips.

We do this (in part) because it’s believed that on Yom Kippur we are closer to God – at the zenith of our holiness – and almost equivalent to the angels themselves. Lifted on this spiritual updraft, we transcend, for 25 hours, the base needs of our physical self.

This includes toothpaste and mouthwash, despite the absolutely zero chance you’d ever hear someone order  “a bagel with a big shmear of Colgate Extra-Whitening” at your local deli.

Less well-known is one of the common rules about any fast day: no “anointing”. While most of us don’t start our day rubbing olive oil on our ear, thumb and big toe (the common form of anointing in the days of yore), we do often daub on perfume or deodorant, both of which count in that category. Stick deodorant also has the double-indemnity of being considered “smearing”, which is one of the 39 acts of work prohibited on any Shabbat or Shabbat-like holiday.

So you can imagine the dismay this past Yom Kippur morning, when the denizens of EdibleTorah HQ awoke unable to perform even the most basic morning ablutions.

Which is why I found one of my children valiantly trying to overcome feelings of grodiness before services. Eyes closed, he sat on the couch fervently repeating

“I’m an angel. I’m an angel. I’m a stinking angel, but I’m an angel.”