Is there something you think you can’t do? Or, the better question, is there something you’ve accomplished that you didn’t think you could do?
I often avoid things I think I can’t do because, well, I’m human. But when faced with you have to do it… It’s time to put on the big-girl panties and risk the embarrassment, shame, disappointment and all the things that come with possible failure.
Enter: Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement for the Jewish people. It’s a fast day. No, not in time (it’s endless that way), but we don’t eat. We don’t even drink water. (Not even coffee, brutal!) From about 6 p.m. the night before to about 7:40 p.m. the next night, nothing passes our lips. Of course, exceptions are made for the sick or those who need to take medicine, we’re not sadists!
It’s hard. It’s especially hard when you have kids, because kids aren’t supposed to fast and you have to prepare their meals. But I’ve actually heard healthy adults say, “I can’t do it.” Really? You can’t? C’mon.
Physically, you can. Trust me, you are not going to fade away. It’s the mental part of going a whole day without the comfort of food that makes us panic. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. You’re weak, tired, and crabby, but you will not die. Despite the obvious physical disadvantages of fasting, every year when Yom Kippur comes around, I take it as a challenge. Can I fast without the headache? Can I stand for the entire 45-minute service at the end of the day before the Shofar blows and we can break the fast? Can I make it the whole day without complaining about being hungry? I think I can. And that’s more than half the battle. Fasting, while not exactly physically desirable, is a mental exercise. A challenge I’m glad to give myself every year to see if I can accomplish something that’s hard.
When we can finally break the fast, the bagels, lox, tuna, quiche, challah, and wine are so delicious—it’s indescribable. But nothing tastes better than the victory of mind over stomach. For me it’s a good way to go into the new year savoring the knowledge that if I think I can, I can.
May you be deliciously victorious in all your challenges.