This is one of the hardest things I’ll ever share: I didn’t fast on Yom Kippur.
I know, right? A shanda for the goyim, take my Member of the Tribe card and tear it up into a thousand little pieces, go ahead, look at me and shake your head, tsk tsk tsk, and try to bring me back on the path of righteousness.
I have my reason, and it’s between the Eternal One, and me… well, now it’s between the Eternal One, me, and all y’all who are reading this — IF you’re still reading this:
When I fast, something happens: First I get hungry. Then I get tired. And then, right around the time we’re all breaking out the bagels and the lox, something happens that makes me push through another day of fasting, and then another and another: I become euphoric. I’m Iccarus pushing toward the sky, flying high, high, higher still. I forget that there is wax that bind my feathers to me, I forget that I am not a bird, that I am not one with the clouds, that I am all too human, a woman, a mother, clay feet and all — until too many days later, and too many pounds lost and too many nights not sleeping, I come crashing down, down, down where I hit the ground and then some.
G’d knows, fasting is dangerous for me: The last time I did it, it lasted too long — six weeks too long, with coffee breaks and bike rides around the fields, it lasted until my mind unraveled with the stars, and Oh My HaShem, it felt sooooo good to be one with the stars and the wind and the sky, until I rode too far, and the horizon was behind me.
“Tsom Kal” people tell me. “Have an easy fast.”
The hard part is I’m not fasting —smack dab in the white light of holiness, where the People of Israel all over the world observe the fast, I am an outsider. Hungry to belong, and hungry for that high that comes with hunger.
But I know G’d gets it — G’d was with me after the crash, G’d held me, twisted and weeping, G’d rocked me while I lay there, curled tightly, a finite, fragile being, in the arms of infinite wisdom, compassion, and mercy.
G’d knows each crack in my heart.
G’d knows where I am shadowed, and where I shine.
And G’d knows I need to have at least one foot on the ground.
So I didn’t fast on Yom Kippur. And I won’t fast next year. Or the year after.