Yom Kippur 2011 (Jewish Calendar Year 5772)
Yom Kippur is about to start. It is the Jewish Day of Atonement, one last chance for Jews to pray to God to seal them in the “Book of Life” for the coming year. This is also the chance for Jews to reverse a decision which may have been made on Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) 10 days earlier. On Rosh Hashana, God judges the whole world and inscribes the outcome of the year ahead for them but the inscription isn’t sealed until the last minutes of Yom Kippur.
Some little details about Yom Kippur:
- It is a fast day where one does not eat or drink anything unless it would put them in danger from a health perspective. Example: Diabetics are, as far as I know, allowed to regulate their insulin.
- No leather shoes may be worn.
- No showers or washing may be done.
- All the regular rules of the Jewish Sabbath apply (and this is every year, not only this year when Yom Kippur happens to actually fall out on the Sabbath).
- No sex. (Seriously, that’s one of them.)
- No perfumes or colognes or “anointing oneself with oils.” (Remember, these rules were written a long, long time ago before the invention of the atomizer, haha)
- The fast is approximately 25 hours long.
Orthodox Jews spend about 16 of those 25 hours in synagogue praying. There is a lot of praying going on all through the whole 25 hour fast day period. Personally, I try to observe this one as much as possible which is why as soon as this post is done my computer, cellphone, and tablet are being turned off (so I’m not tempted). I usually end up sleeping for about 22 of those 25 hours and reading a book for the rest. I go to synagogue for a bit but really I just try to get through the fast my own way.
Every year there are different “inventions” from the pharmaceutical world to help people get through this fast. I have seen advertised caffeine pills which are time released to give a morning dose to us coffee addicts, as well as – and I am being completely serious – suppository medications for headaches associated with fasting. For me, sleeping works best.
If you’re Jewish and you’re fasting have an easy fast. For everyone else have a great weekend! See you on the other side!!!
Clipart images via Microsoft Office.