The anxieties of abstaining from food and water on Yom Kippur (and enduring an expected heat wave in Los Angeles this weekend) start to dance around my head months before the actual holiday. As I try to do the important work of teshuva, I keep thinking: How am I going to prepare for and survive the fast?! How many late summer conversations do I have with my coffee drinking friends about their preferred caffeine withdrawal techniques?
Needless to say, I probably don’t need to remind anyone of the billion plus people worldwide who experience many days like this from lack of access to or fresh water each week, month, year. Or the 46.5 million Americans who are hungry (21 million children, 7 million seniors). Unlike the daily struggles billions of people endure, this is one day for Jews without food or water.
And even though my mind admittedly will at times be distracted by a visual loop equivalent to the Food Network, Yom Kippur is really a gift. It’s an opportunity to try to move into a deep spiritual realm that is beyond our physical dimensions. Continue reading