As I enter the traditional fast for Yom Kippur at sundown tonight, I am apprehensive.

We wish one another “an easy fast,” but it is — at best — simultaneous challenges: to forgo eating, drinking, bathing, brushing teeth, sex. Those are predictable challenges as I withdraw from life’s vanities for serious contemplation of personal and communal responsibility.

The most unexpected challenge comes from the slow passing of time. Without all those activities, time is strangely uninterrupted. There is no time diverted to making dinner, for example, or washing dishes. There isn’t even any time spent on planning meals.

Time becomes more plentiful for the contemplation during the final formal day of court hearings in the case of Landlord v. Humanity.

Live For Now
It’s easy to wish for an end to the fast. Come tomorrow afternoon, I will surely have a headache caused by increasing dehydration. It comes every year, with hours of fasting yet to go.

It makes sense to wish for the break fast meal. I will try rather to focus on the contemplation at hand.

It makes sense to nap away the fast. I did that in my first year of fasting, but that isn’t the idea of the fast. I will remain conscious of the unfolding experience.

The challenge: to not wish away the challenges. To live valid moments, especially because they occur during a fast.

There will, no doubt, be that small, still voice within me that is just enough louder than my growling stomach.

And that voice will say: “Artie, soon you will be back in the deli. You will have survived the fast. You will once again be enjoying whitefish salad, corned beef, and pickles.”


This Pre-Fast Moment
Brought To You By Katzinger’s
Which all reminds me to invite you to come to Katzinger’s Delicatessen on this Thursday, October 1st for the celebration of the 25th year of remarkable deliciousness in German Village.

At six o’clock that evening, the deli will close and, for charity, charge $5 at the door for entry. The inside will be set for lots of eating. It’s a deli party and you are invited. 


May you have an easy fast. And may the coming year bring you happiness, meaningful living, and good health. And a big ol’ pickle.