Friday, September 29, 2017

"Yom Kippur Conundrum"

Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, the finale of the ten “Days of Atonement”, at which point your name is inscribed in the “Book of Life” for the following year, or it isn’t. 

So you do not want to make any last-minute mistakes.

The thing is…

The Jewish religion requires people to fast on Yom Kippur, and by the scholarly definition, “fasting”, in this case, means not only no food for about twenty-seven hours – spanning the time you leave for the synagogue the evening before to the time they blow the shofar the following night; not that you sleep over in synagogue, you go home and come back – fasting also includes no drinking.  By which they do not mean no alcohol or Pepsi.  They mean no anything.

That’s the “Yom Kippur Experience”:

A day of fasting – where you can’t eat, and you can’t drink.

And you sit in the synagogue all day, though I think even the rabbi takes a short break.  But certainly not to eat and drink.


Which I italicize because of the Yom Kippur dilemma that creates.

It’s sort of a “Science Versus Religion” kind of a thing.  If you consider “Nutrition” an actual science.  (Instead of a food choice.  Minus the allergies that can kill you or give you a stomachache or some really bad hives.)

Here’s the problem.

My pilates teacher is also a certified nutritionist.  She insists that although fasting can’t hurt you – and can, in fact, actually help you, but I will settle for “can’t hurt you” and not get crazy about fasting – it is physically unhealthy not to drink.  For an entire day.  You must, under all circumstances, remain hydrated.

Which brings to mind my primary care physician who, when I am under the weather and I email him my symptoms (at a additional stipend), he invariably replies, “You may be insufficiently hydrated.”  It sounds like remaining hydrated is important; otherwise, you’ll get symptoms. 

Truth be told, however, my primary care physician has been wrong every time – once, “insufficiently hydrated” turned out to be “Legionnaire’s Disease”, and another time, a troublingly elevated, non-dehydration-related red blood cell count.  Sooner or later, he’s going to be right about being dehydrated.  And I do not want it to be tomorrow.  (Making my inscription in the “Book of Life” definitionally moot.  I was an apparent "late cut" in the last cycle.)

So what do I do?

Follow the rules of my religion?

Or follow the advice of a nutritionist?

Those sound superficially unequal.  But maybe they‘re not.

Remember, the original Twelve Tribes of Israel were longtime denizens of the desert.  Maybe they were habitually used to not drinking.

“A day without water?  That’s nothing.  My camels do that for a week!

Who knows?  Maybe they could and we shouldn’t.  There were no nutritionists back then; those desert Jews didn’t know any better.  Somebody dies of dehydration, they go, “He probably ate pork.”  We’re talking thousands of years ago.  They got a lot of stuff wrong.


My confirmation in the “Book of Life” may hang precariously in the balance.

Do I really want to mess up because I drank water?

And there you have it,


Or Religion?

Which way do I go?

You know what I’m thinking?

It was easier when there was just one of them.


cjdahl60 said...

As a lapsed Catholic, I can remember some dietary restrictions when I was a kid about meatless Fridays and some days of mandatory fasting, but I don't recall that including a restriction on water. Later, the meatless Fridays were reduced to only being mandatory during Lent. At this point, I don't think that are any mandatory dietary restrictions at all.

Considering how strict the Catholic religion was back in the day, I'm surprised that they moved into the modern times regarding dietary restrictions and fasting. However, they remain stubbornly unchanged on some other key tenets, which is why I am now a lapsed Catholic.

YEKIMI said...

Even though it's from a different religion, maybe you could drink Holy Water. "Ok, he's not really fasting by drinking BUT it IS Holy Water, so I'll give him a pass and write his name in the Book of Life.....maybe with an asterisk by it."

JED said...

You might not be at your peak performance and you might not want to run in a marathon but unless you are in really bad physical shape, going without water for a day will not harm you. G’mar Hatimah Tovah