Atonement

Fasting and Yom Kippur

Sep
17

During discussions of Yom Kippur several years ago, an argument was presented that nowhere does the Scripture indicate that fasting is a requirement of Yom Kippur. This struck me as an odd thing, even dangerous. I had not even heard such a thing before. I didn’t know that there was any debate over this issue among observant Jews. I knew that some Reformed Jews would casually work and not fast o­n Yom Kippur, but was not aware that there were other groups in the Jewish community that did not believe that fasting was a requirement of Yom Kippur.

Certainly the idea of fasting o­n Yom Kippur is an age old “tradition” among the more observant of both Jews and some Gentiles. There are even some “Christian” groups that fast o­n this day. Some groups fast o­n a regular basis, either for health or spiritual benefit, multiple times a year – even weekly.

The instructions in question for Yom Kippur are in the following texts:

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The Sages have said:

In the times of the Messiah, the L~rd shall manifest a second time His hand' (Isaiah 11:11). He shall be the Redeemer in person so that 'Israel shall be saved in the L~rd with an everlasting salvation' (Isaiah 45:17). And 'his rest shall be glorious' (Isaiah 11:10). All the world shall say, 'It is fitting that his rest shall be glorious, for while ordinary kings acquire glory for themselves through victorious wars, and do not believe themselves to be esteemed when they are at rest, he, on the contrary, without waging war makes everyone subject to him, and all render him homage.

Minha- Ghedola

Commentary Minha- Ghedola in the Grand Rabbinic Bible of Amsterdam, 1700-1705— Rabbinic Bible of Bombergi