Sunday, October 01, 2006

Why I could not fast for Yom Kippur, even if I were so inclined

All of my reading these days is, as you might have picked up on by now, about France. The thing about France is that each of its towns brings to mind some kind of tasty food. I cannot read the history of Poitou without thinking of its chevre, Calvados without thinking how this liqueur is used to make an apple tart, and so on. Reading about Paris means hearing the names of streets or neighborhoods, and thus brings about an irrepressible urge to buy pastries as well as shoes. It's distracting under the best of circumstances, but if I were trying specifically to avoid eating, it would be a disaster.

1 comment:

Maria Noland said...

I went through a tedious process of trying to decide whether or not I should.. First there was the whole component that I am not yet officially Jewish, as I'm still taking conversion classes, so there was the question, "if I'm not yet officially Jewish, then I'm except, right?" But then there was the problem of l'âme juif, and perhaps that was the deciding factor in whether or not I was obliged. And if none of the above was the case, at the very least fasting would reaffirm my committment to officially becoming Jewish. Alas, the decision was made.

And, as with anything else important, I messed up the date, and ended up lighting the candle on 7:05 PM on September 31st, since I was a day ahead of time. All night I had nightmares about accidentally waking up and eating something, thereby violating the commandment. Le lendemain, I awoke and managed to fast until about 9 AM (which, considering that I usually eat at 6ish is rather late for me) and decided that it wasn't worth it. Then arose the whole debate about reason and religion, and being mildly health-conscious, I voted on the side of reason, saying that back in the day daily life then was possibly last demanding calorically-speaking than la vie quotidenne aujourd'hui, and the concept of metabolism understood much less. Also floating around were the questions of "And what if the commandment said to fast for 40, 60 hours instead of 25?" Where does reason end and begin?

Right before the start of the actual Yom Kippur, I managed to realize that in fact it was October 1st, and suddenly I became excited about the holiday and the fasting that it entailed. I showered, lit the candle, said the prayer, and the fast was well underway until the next day when I awoke, facing a Monday schedule of 8 AM Hebrew, Methodologie et Documentation, and Littérature Française (spare me), I decided to eat a big bowl of cereal and save the hunger pains for l'année prochaine.