Tuesday night (10/11/16) at sundown begins the holy fast day of Yom Kippur, it is one of only two 25-hour fasts on the Jewish calendar (the other is Tisha B’av).
Yom Kippur is thought of as a “happy fast.” Jews give up food or drink, sex and some other things (but lets face it after those two who really cares). While the media stories of the holiday call it the day of atonement, that is not the reason for the fast..we’re not fasting for atonement. We denying ourselves ice cream and connubial relations as some sort of sacrifice to God. The Rabbis say we are fasting because we are concentrating so hard on getting as close as possible to the Lord that we don’t have time for the other stuff. That’s why it is a happy fast because there is no greater joy than getting closer to God.
If you happen to see one of your Jewish friends walking to shul (synagogue) on Yom Kippur there is no need to hide. Thankfully the caffeine withdrawal headaches we get on Yom Kippur are not contagious.