October 3, 2014, - 4:27 pm

Yom Kippur Holiday/Fast: To My Readers & Friends . . .

By Debbie Schlussel

Tonight, the Jewish fast day of Yom Kippur begins at sundown (and ends at nightfall on Saturday Night). It’s a day of atonement for our sins and a day full of prayer to G-d*, asking for forgiveness and a good year.


Israeli Soldiers & Other Jews Praying @ Israel’s Kotel (Western Wall)

Yom Kippur is one of the holiest Jewish holidays, at the end of which we believe our fate for the next year is “sealed” by G-d. We believe that on Rosh HaShanah, that fate is written by Him, and on Yom Kippur, He issues His final Judgment. This is Judgment Day.

On Yom Kippur, we fast and pray for about 25 hours to ask G-d for a good year. Before the fast, we eat a big, sumptuous meal, which expands the stomach and makes the fast more difficult. During the holiday, there are strict prohibitions: no food, drink, shower, sex, TV/radio, phone, etc. the whole day, which is mostly spent at synagogue. The idea is that you are removing yourself from worldly and material concerns and focusing on deeper, far more important, spiritual ones, the most important of which is repentance for your sins. We also don’t wear leather shoes, as back in the day, those were a luxury of the wealthy, and the holiday is not about ostentatious or material displays, but about humble requests before G-d. My comfy ASICS GT-2000s await my feet.

I am going to faster services tonight and tomorrow (no sermon or fundraising for Jewish causes, as is the usual), and so in the little free time that I have, I plan to read some books on Jewish American history, including some books written by Jewish American soldiers serving in World War II and Vietnam and how they observed Judaism while fighting for America. While we “deprive” ourselves of food and drink for just over 25 hours on this Jewish holy day, I’m sure I’ll read of real deprivation in the books I’m going to try to read.

Last year, on this holiday, I read part of a book I got on the life of an American Jewish soldier who was captured and spent time as a prisoner in a Nazi internment camp during World War II. It’s called, “A European Sojourn 1943-1945 An Autobiography Pvt. Frederick O. Scheer Serial No. 14118781: As Recounted to Rear Admiral William O. Miller J A G C USN (Ret.).” From Eatonton, Georgia, Pvt. Scheer was captured shortly after the D-Day invasion, and he spent the rest of WW2 as a Prisoner of War in Germany.

Get Yours . . .

When the holiday ends tomorrow night, the shofar–a ram’s horn–is sounded.

To my Jewish friends and readers, have an easy fast (a Tsom Kal) and a great year. Gmar Chatimah Tovah [May you be finally sealed for good–a good year.]

To everyone, see you very, very soon. And thank you for your continued patronage of this site. I will be praying for you and for America, its safety, and security. Our continuing freedom is paramount.

I very much appreciate my readers, their continued support of this site, and, of course, their tips and comments always. And, among other things, I will pray for that to continue and increase in the coming year.

Thanks to the many readers–both Jew and Gentile–who sent me good wishes for an easy fast and a good year. Right back atcha!

* Religious Jews use dashes in the word “G-d” and do not write it out completely out of respect for Him and the wish not to write the name in vain.

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13 Responses

Have an easy fast, and a great year, Debbie, as well as to all of the Jewish readers here and anyone else here who observes the holiday.

JeffE on October 3, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Have an easy fast.
Gmar Chatima Tovah!
Paula Malka

PaulaMalka on October 3, 2014 at 5:38 pm

May You Be Sealed for a Good Year and an easy fast. Have a wonderful weekend and I will always look forward to your many postings.

Tammy Summers on October 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Have an easy fast

japple on October 3, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Take it easy Deb. Will be thinking of you tonight.

#1 Vato on October 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm


Have an easy fast and a blessed new year.

Peter on October 4, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Be careful Debbie and don’t get yourself beheaded!
Enjoy Yom Kippur!

Concerned Citizen on October 5, 2014 at 1:20 am


Wish you a very happy Yom Kuppur

Infidel on October 5, 2014 at 2:33 am

It’s the day after our Yom Kippur holiday, and I was reading your post when I returned last night. I …. think….. you are actually inccorrect about the purpose of the sumptuous meals on the day prior to the fast. From what I’ve learned, it is rather to make the fast not really such a painful physical ordeal, by eating well, and drinking (hydrating) well, but rather a ‘mental’ fast. To enhance this process, we fast in accordance with the biblical command “you shall afflict your souls” (Lev. 23:23-32).
The command to afflict the soul, rather than the body. It is the heart, mind, soul that is being rewound to undergo the ‘fasting’, rather than a physical painfulness.

Thus …. I think…. that the command to eat sumptuously the day and night before is actually not to expand the stomach as you suggested, to make the fast more painful but rather less……


mgoldberg on October 5, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Somewhat OT:

“Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel David Lau and founder of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Abdullah Nimar Darwish called on leaders of both Abrahamic faiths to hold meetings aimed at reducing inter-religious tensions in Israel. ‘There’s no permission from God and there is no justification for harming people’s lives,” Lau said.'”

So much for this “rabbi,” who mocks Torah. Rambam says Israel is in a defacto defensive holy war (milchemet mitzva) because the Mooooslims have waged war against Jews in Eretz Israel. But “rabbi” Lau says that the Amalekites who wage this war cannot be harmed. A real rabbi would say that not a single Moooslim should now be allowed to live in Eretz Israel, even if the Mooooslims are not Amalekites.

If this “rabbi” crunched on a BLT he would shame Judaism. less.

skzion on October 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Oh, yeah?!!??!! “. . . inter-religious tensions . . .”

    How about Muslims change their ways?

    ALL OF THEM!!!

    Alfredo from Puerto Rico on October 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm

DUNE is a moronic novel, in many ways. Yet a quote from it is relevant, today and always: “Humans must never submit to animals.”

May Israel last 10 more millenia and forever.

Occam's Tool on October 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Happy Yom Kippur, Debbie!

DS_ROCKS! on October 5, 2014 at 3:53 pm

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