As many of you know, in my culture, Yom Kippur (starting tonight and running through til tomorrow night) is the day the book of life is sealed. On Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, the book is opened and we have time to reflect and repent and whatnot. I see this time as an opportunity to be thoughtful about our year past, analytical about our lives and how we've been living them, and redirect our intentions for the year to come.
The issue I wanted to take up here is the fasting. Jews traditionally fast on the Yom Kippur holiday as a means of clearing our minds in order to concentrate on who we are and who we want to be in the future. Our thoughts shouldn't be busy with what we plan on eating, only with our reflection.
And I love this idea! I think it's a really nice sentiment. Once a year we should really take the time to be thoughtful about our actions and motives. It's important to our betterment that we make each of our decisions consciously and willfully. And without the time to really think about those decisions, we can't be expected to stand behind them, right?
That said, I think that way too often our people get caught up in the fasting. It becomes a contest, a challenge, a product of guilt. And those are all the wrong reasons to do it. People become lethargic and weak. They push themselves not to take sustenance because there's some defeat in it.
And I think that's absolutely ridiculous! It defeats the point. When you're sitting there thinking about how difficult fasting is, you're certainly not thinking about your life and decisions and bettering yourself. And fasting doesn't make you better! The point is not to hurt or deprive yourself.
But indulging is also not the right sentiment. The point, in my opinion, is to erase food from your thoughts for a day. Not to think about eating it or not eating it.
So I've decided that I'm going to juice fast this year. Taking juice will help keep me awake and alert. It will keep me energized and able to think clearly. But it won't have me obsessed about how many hours until it's time to eat.
It'll provide me with an appropriate cleanse with which to start the new year. A clean body= a clean mind!