A (Holy) Day in the Life


Aaron Hendel’s plate after his second trip to the buffet during break fast.

Let me start off by saying that I am well aware of the millions of people on the planet that often go several days without eating, let alone a mere 24 hours. So to consider abstaining from food for one day a year a struggle might be a bit of an overstatement.

But nevertheless, it’s still not easy.

This was my third year fasting. The first time I recall being in complete agony; last year I was a bit more used to it.

I was nervous this time around, however. This was because before the final pre-fast dinner, I snagged some cooked baby carrots, my favorite traditional Jewish food, and, proceeded to burn my tongue. I felt this was a bad omen. I’m not a superstitious guy, but when G-d is involved, you never know what can happen.

The next day, as I returned from morning services, I was all ready for lunch. Temple has a way of making me hungry.

And then I remembered. There would be no lunch. There would be nothing for another six hours. Not only was I beginning to feel starved, but I was also frankly a little sad.

What can I say? I really like lunch.

I’d say the single hardest moment came mid-afternoon, about four hours away from break fast. I caught a glimpse of leftover marble cake from the prior night’s dessert. It stared me down, and practically begged me to take a bite. I stood there for what felt like an eternity, but was probably only around ten seconds, and finally walked away in resistance.

The best advice I can give to an aspiring faster is to stay occupied. For me, college football did the trick. Having Yom Kippur fall on a Saturday was unfortunate, seeing as though we did not get to miss any school, however it gave me an excuse to watch some excellent games.

And when it’s all said and done, that first bite off food tastes truly unbelievable. Although somehow I managed to cut my tongue on a piece of challah; I guess it was payback for trying to get a head start the night before. But it was totally worth it.