I really hyped up Yom Kippur yesterday in my post on The Times of Israel hours before the fast began. I meant what I wrote and yet, post-Yom Kippur, I need to make a confession.
This year I had a very annoying and pretty upsetting Yom Kippur.
First of all, I really hate fasting. I’m not the worst faster but it makes me feel uncomfortable and weak and the whole time, I just can’t wait for it to be over.
Secondly, I knew I might have menstrual cramps on Yom Kippur and I wouldn’t be able to take pills for them. This stressed me out all day.
And then, thinking about cramps without pain killers got me thinking about other people who would suffer more than usual because of the extremely strict fasting laws on Yom Kippur. Ynet’s overly dramatized Yom Kippur in numbers article mentions that 108 fasters were taken to the hospital by ambulance after fainting today. Oy vey.
Third, Yom Kippur really stirs up the emotions and sometimes that means we get to see the stuff about ourselves that we wish wasn’t looming there, ready to rear its ugly head. My oh my.
In yesterday’s piece I said that I was going to focus on the positive - imagine a better me and a better world. But instead I kept thinking about how crappy I can be and that wasn’t fun. (For some odd reason.)
Finally, this year I didn’t feel like being in shul. I normally spend quite a lot of time there but after Ma’ariv last night, I decided not to go to during the day. This gave my Yom Kippur much less structure and maybe, much less meaning.
Of course Yom Kippur this year wasn’t all bad. Last night I walked to Emek Refaim with a few of the kids in the family and that was really nice. Instead of going to shul today, I took up camp on my parents’ couch and stayed on that dear couch from approximately 8:30 in the morning until around 5:00 in the evening. During that time, I read (Great Expectations), slept and had many visitors in the form of parents, sisters and nieces and nephews.
At around 5:30 this evening I decided to go to shul for the end of Ne’ila. I got there in time for the very dramatic and touching ending of the Yom Kippur prayers (I’m not being facetious).
And then it was over.
Usually when Yom Kippur ends, I am giddy that it happened and relieved that it’s over. This year I’m left feeling a bit empty. Maybe I would have felt better if I’d forced myself to go to shul at least for Mussaf today. It’s hard to know.
It’s interesting that I had such a frustrating, forced Yom Kippur after I wrote such an excited piece about this holiday a few hours before it began. I wonder if I jinxed myself or maybe, through writing the piece, I realized that actually I don’t exactly feel the way I thought I do.
Or maybe this Yom Kippur I was just in a bad mood. Everything being said, I think the truth is a mix of all of the above.