It is a day in which we imitate the finality of death,
in which we suffer, even for a short while,
and remember those whom we have made suffer,
this year, and in years past, with our misdeeds.
It is a day in which we, collectively and individually,
must wrestle and reckon with what we have done.
We do this by fasting, by praying, and by mimicking
the cold conclusion which one day calls us all.
But for some of us, this day comes with further requirements.
Today entails not mimicking the finality of our death,
but rather by acknowledging our commandment to stay alive.
The commandment, sustaining a Life, supersedes
nearly all of the 613 mitzvotLit. Commandment. It is traditionally held that there are 613 mitzvot (plural) in Judaism, both postive commandments (mandating actions) and negative commandments (prohibiting actions). Mitzvah has also become colloquially assumed to mean the idea of a “good deed." that we were commanded.
For some of us, some like me, we must eat.
We eat because we must grow or feed a child,
or because we must sustain for medication,
for some others it is a matter of health,
with health complications making sustenance a constant necessity,
a necessity which we cannot shirk or ignore.
For some it is simple and easy to explain,
for some it is a source of shame or embarrassment,
but whatever our situation, whatever we need,
we must eat to stay alive, because mimicking death
is less important to our creator than us continuing to live.
So, we eat, and we live; and yet, in doing so,
we stand out in a crowd of those who fast, and imitate.
We stick out among those who are praying in silence,
those whose stomachs rumble, and churn from hunger,
those who don’t seem to notice that they are hungry.
Because if I were to fast, it would not end at sunset.
if I were to fast, even for just one day, it would continue
until I was no longer imitating, and the suffering would be real.
We are commanded with Pikuach NefeshLit. Saving a life. This is one of the most important of the mitzvot. All laws of Judaism (except the prohibitions against murder, adultery, and idolatry) must be suspended in order to save a life. for a reason,
and even if sometimes it is hard to see and understand,
even if sometimes, sticking out in the crowd is uncomfortable,
staying alive is ultimately the end goal of a pursuit of love.
Life, as it stands, is a messy journey, of pain, and joy,
suffering and anguish, monotony, and blandness,
but that journey is a wonderful journey,
a journey that should not be cut short because
I decided that fasting on Yom KippurThe holiest day of the Jewish year and the culmination of a season of self-reflection. Jews fast, abstain from other worldly pleasures, and gather in prayers that last throughout the day. Following Ne'ilah, the final prayers, during which Jews envision the Gates of Repentance closing, the shofar is sounded in one long blast to conclude the holy day. It is customary to begin building one's sukkah as soon as the day ends. was more important.
And so, today, I will eat. And my eating will not be easy.
I will struggle with the plate, just as your struggle with hunger.
I will look at my plate with distain, as you with your stomach.
My anguish will be my bagel for breakfast, my falafel for lunch
and when we join together at sunset, for a joy-filled meal,
my anguish with eating will continue, while you go back to normal.
Today, do not take your hunger for granted, and likewise,
do not take your food tomorrow as a given.
Some of us will struggle with food every day, and sometimes,
those of us who struggle, will not win the battle.
On Rosh HashanahThe Jewish New Year, also considered the Day of Judgment. The period of the High Holidays is a time of introspection and atonement. The holiday is celebrated with the sounding of the shofar, lengthy prayers in synagogue, the eating of apples and honey, and round challah for a sweet and whole year. Tashlikh, casting bread on the water to symbolize the washing away of sins, also takes place on Rosh Hashana. it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.
Today, to keep my name from being sealed, I will eat.
And it will be a joyful suffering, because it means I will live.
Dreaming Our Ancestors Home: Connecting With and Healing Our Past
Connect with your ancestral lineage through active waking and sleeping dreamwork. Guided mediations using active dreamwork, time travel to the past and future, and opportunities to engage in dream circles with the class as a whole and in hevrutanull will be part of the sessions. Four sessions starting March 19.