THE TABERNACLE IN BRANSON'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
FASTING ON YOM KIPPUR
October 2019 | Tishrei - Cheshvan 5780 | Volume 14 Issue 10
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the fast day on the 10th of Tishrei is devoted to individual and communal repentance (teshuvah; literally, “returning”). Yom Kippur is the climax of the forty day period of self-examination that begins with a month of spiritual preparation during Elul and intensifies on Rosh Hashanah and the remainder of the Ten Days of Repentance. “It is to be a statute to you forever, that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you are to afflict your souls, and do no kind of work—both the native-born and the outsider dwelling among you. For on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. From all your sins you will be clean before Adonai. It is a Shabbat of solemn rest to you, you are to afflict your souls. It is a statute forever.” ~Leviticus 16:28-30 Fasting on Yom Kippur is supposed to make us focus on our souls rather than on our bodies. However, around lunch time, why is it that we are so hungry that for the rest of the day all we can think about is food? How is it that we are to become more spiritual when our stomachs just keep growling? Fasting is no fun. By mid-morning on Yom Kippur we may be thinking back to that pre-fast meal and totally regret not eating that extra chicken leg. As the day continues, we might find ourselves constantly checking our watch every few minutes anticipating breaking the fast. While the sounds of our stomachs start to drown out the Yom Kippur prayers, it becomes harder to understand how we can use our bodies hunger to bring us closer to our souls. There is no magic way to make the fast of Yom Kippur easy, but fasting can be a spiritual experience. When we are sitting in the synagogue on the holiest day of the year and all we can do is think about the morning coffee we missed and then we begin to hallucinate about fried chicken and mashed potatoes, how can it be that an empty stomach has turned us in to a ravenous beast. It will only take a few mouthfuls of cake and a cup of soda to make us forget the whole ordeal. Is a plate of food all that we amount to? Most of us take our body and its needs very seriously. We can live our lives pursuing our body’s cravings and urges, forgetting that there is more to life than our creature comforts. Fasting is a powerful reminder of how fragile we are. The more hungry we get the more we realize how delicate the body really is. There must be more to our life than breakfast. The body is no more than an outer shell, a thin surface of who you are. Your true identity is the part of you that can see beyond your own hunger and feel the hunger of others. All year long we work, shop, cook, eat, and exercise to feed our body and one day we step back from our bodily self and step into the world of the soul. Fasting for Yom Kippur On Yom Kippur we have the opportunity to remind ourselves of how our bodies serve as a vehicle of goodness. Romans 3 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of G~d. They are set right as a gift of His grace, through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua”. Today, we can set our minds to achieve the mission that our souls were sent to this world to fulfill. We can, without hesitation and in complete joy, be immersed in the spirituality of the the day and express confidence that the Holy One will accept our repentance, forgive our sins, and seal our verdict for a year of life, health, and happiness. This Yom Kippur, as we hunger for the breaking of the fast, may our souls long for our Bridegroom-King who became the ultimate atonement for us. When the Day of Atonement ends and the shofar is blown let us all proclaim, “Next year in Jerusalem”!