As we all prepare for Yom Kippur, getting ready for the fast – I just wanted to share a quick story that will hopefully stay with you, to not only make the fast easier, but inspire you to take advantage of the opportunity that the day affords!
A close disciple, amidst a group of disciples, once approached his great Chassidic Rebbe, known to be a holy man. He asked him how many days in the week he was actually fasting. After all, such a holy man would, no doubt, fast frequently.
The Rebbe smiled and told them that he never fasted!
A little surprised, they responded “Well Rebbe. You don’t mean never of course. As Jews, we all fast a few times throughout the year…”
To which he responded that when he said never, he actually means never.
Flabbergasted by his response, they asked him what he did on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. Surely he fasted then.
The Rebbe smiled: “I do not fast on Yom Kippur”.
“You don’t?” said the disciples, aghast.
“No”, said the Rebbe, “do you know how precious the time on Yom Kippur is. An opportunity for just one day to stop everything and reflect on what I did the entire year, my achievements, and my shortcomings, and then try to think about what values are truly important for me to strive for in the coming year. I have one day to do that, so I just have no time to eat on Yom Kippur. There are more important things to do that day – So how has one time to eat?”
When the Torah introduces a something that looks like a “shalt not” often it is a “shall.” Just like a person might have a no cell phone at the dinner table rule – not because you want to prohibit cell phones, but because you want to encourage family time to talk to each other and spend quality time, so too on Yom Kippur – we disconnect, in order to connect to more important things that we have to achieve on that day. We can eat tomorrow, but we all know that if we put off introspecting today – it will never happen tomorrow. For those things, tomorrow never comes!
My bracha to you is that on this day you become aware of your true unlimited potential, and rather than be scared by your awesome power to become more – you embrace it and realize that potential.
We should all be blessed with another year, and a year of good health, prosperity and joy – so that we can realize that potential once all the basics in life are provided for us from Above!
Gmar Chatima Tova,