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September 22 2015

“Easy Fast”. Do You Really Think It’s That Easy?

The day to fast? Yom Kippur

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Your first thoughts are,  “Not again!  It’s been a year already?”   I don’t understand why this is it the only holiday that you commit to fasting and the challenge is beyond painful!

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The thought of how much food we ate last week between the two nights of Rosh,  and of course the final lunch, you would think we were full by now!  Between the brisket, kugel (both noodle and potato), the turkey, the chicken, the apples and honey, the chopped liver, the roasted potatoes, the spinach, the broccoli,the roasted brussel sprouts,  the challah,with and without the raisins, the dips, the matzah ball soup, gefilte fish…the desserts:  brownies ,marble cheesecake squares, chocolate chip walnut meringue cookies , lemon squares,  chocolate cake, and fruit salad, you would expect that we would never want to eat again.

Not sure why they say “easy fast”.   It’s not easy.  Nothing about it is.  I guess you say “easy fast” since everyone really knows it’s hard!   It all starts with the night before.   You try to eat as much as you can (even though you’re not supposed to) on the theory that it will make you less hungry the next day, and you’ll fall into a food coma and sleep until temple.  

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Roll the tape forward to the morning.  You’re in temple listening to sermons while you stomach is gurgling.  You hear the sounds of  people chewing gum and sucking candy to get past having not brushed their teeth (although the gum and candy are obviously no more allowed than the tooth brushing)!   With all those sounds, who can concentrate on what the Rabbi is saying, and anyway, you are starving!  

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You drift off, dreaming of blintzes, bagels, Nova Scotia – thinly sliced, whitefish salad, noodle pudding, challah french toast and eggs in all varieties.

Individual vegetable frittata squares, egg salad, traditional tuna salad, tuna salad with cranberries and apples, who can repent with all that food to think about!

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By 3:00, it’s like a marathon that seems never ending. You sit for hours, waiting for the moment you get to eat again.  Of course, let’s be real.   There are days you don’t eat at all. You juice cleanse, you veggie cleanse , you do any cleanse,  But somehow Yom Kippur feels different!  It’s the ultimate challenge.  

Do you think anyone will know if i take a little cheat?  I have a “nosh” in the bag, wow, so excited! Can’t believe I have those almonds I haven’t eaten.  If I go to the bathroom now I can sneak!!  Then if I have the life saver (which you’re not supposed to, but it is a “life saver” after all), and I was coughing, no one will smell my almond breath.   Maybe that little 100 calorie bag can get me through the next two hours.  It usually does on any other given day.

Thoughts about food ping pong back and forth through my head when I am supposed to be repenting for all my sins! Is this just another sin?  Will I have a bad year?  I fasted last year?  This year wasn’t so great?  Why will next  year be better?  I’m not a bad person?

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Ok, okay!!! I have had enough, I don’t think I can sit in synagogue any longer.  I need to leave, and head home to rest or lay down, anything, just to make this day feel better and go quicker.  The thought of food is flooding my brain.  I go look at the refrigerator, the cabinets, the shelves.  I smell the box of old cookies just to get a whiff.

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Its coming to the home stretch………… Did I do it?  Did I repent?  Will THIS be labeled a success!!!!!

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Food, FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!   You don’t know where to start.  You begin to stack your plate with food.  Are people watching?  W hy do you feel like you’re the only one eating?  Why are people not eating yet?  Too bad, you are not waiting.  You have had enough. You wonder, “If I put ½ bagel on the plate with a little cream cheese and a little of everything else, it won’t look so bad, right?  Do I really care at this point? I have fasted.  I have repented.  I have done all that’s expected of me.”   You can barely make it to the table without picking at the food on your plate while walking.  Now all you need is to trip and fall!  What a day!

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