Yom Kippur and the No-Kvetch Zone

Friday, 25 September, 2020 - 3:02 pm

Before Yom Kippur people commonly wish one another to have an easy fast. This is a very nice sentiment, as refraining from eating and especially drinking for over 24 hours is not so simple. Yet at the same time, I am somewhat bothered by the kvetching about the fast during Yom Kippur itself. I know that Jews are “Born to Kvetch” (as the saying goes), but somehow I would hope that we could rise above it for just this one day a year.

There an axiom from one of the Chabad Rebbes about Yom Kippur – “On Yom Kippur, who even wants to eat?” In other words, Yom Kippur is about entering a sublime space in our spirituality. The reason for not eating on Yom Kippur is not to punish ourselves for sinning, but because it is such a holy day, infused with such intense spirituality, that eating is out of the question. Yom Kippur is like experiencing heaven on earth. Yom Kippur is a day of the Neshama.

True, we are a combination of body and soul, and our job is to elevate the body rather than neglecting it. True, that we are earthly inhabitants, and our task is to elevate the earthliness rather than ignore it. True, that for a Jew, eating properly with the right intent is a means of serving Hashem. However, in order to achieve those goals on the other days of the year, we need to have one day where we levitate above it all. We have one day where the body is sidelined. We have one day where physicality is suppressed. With the inspiration of this one day, we are able to come charging powerfully back toward those goals for the rest of the year.

So let’s institute a “No-Kvetch Zone” this Yom Kippur and enjoy the meaningful experience that it is intended to be.

On a different note, Hurricane Sally took aim at Chabad of Pensacola, leaving them with major damage. Let’s help them rebuild their facility and their community.  

Wishing you a meaningful Yom Kippur and an easy fast!!
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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