Prepent 5774: Day 37, The Feast Before The Fast
On erev Yom Kippur, preparing for the fast ahead
Journey into the High Holidays with Amichai Lau-Lavie, founder of Storahtelling and the spiritual leader of Lab/Shul. It’s a daily dose of inspiration to get you focused and ready for the new year, featuring daily intentions, simple tasks, and tools for living better.
On the day before the fast, we feast.
Two years ago, as the sun began to set over the Hudson River, I sat down to for a pre-fast feast. I ate a banana and two dates—that’s what you get on a raw food week. This year, since I’m back on the raw routine for one more day, I think I’ll eat a mango and some green beans. Slowly, and with intention.
For many of us, the pre-fast meal is a festive occasion and a serious gastro-Judaic art. In mystical traditions this eating is as sacred and meaningful as the fasting that will follow. How we eat today reflects on our eating past and future.
In almost childlike simplicity the Jewish tradition reminds us each year on this day of the cycles of our lives: daily hungers and fulfillment, lifelong longings and gifts. Perhaps this annual repetition exists to remind us how to be more fully present.
Fasting challenges our comfort zone and our will power. It realigns us in our bodies. The full Kippur cycle includes the eating that both precedes and follows the fast. An invitation to pause and honor what is, be grateful for what we have, and become more aware of the hunger and needs of others.
Prepent, Day 37: Feast, slowly and with pleasure, without thinking of the fast ahead. Pause to appreciate all the nourishment of this past year. And, if possible, feed someone else.
Bon appetit. Betavon. To an easy fast, with meaningful moments—may we feast and fast with mindfulness and an open heart. (And, for the record, wisely or not, I plan to continue my tradition of breaking the fast with a double shot of superb single malt—and a blessing. To life.
Gmar Chatima Tovah.
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