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September 24, 2004

Fast Company

Baseball player Shawn Green, who is Jewish, has decided he will sit out tomorrow's game, but play tonight (the game is over; Green hit a home run and L.A. won).

Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, runs from sundown Friday to sundown on Saturday (actually it starts and ends at "nightfall", which is a bit later than sundown). On that day you are supposed to fast and refrain from work. By bad scheduling luck, the Dodgers have two games in that 24-hour span, and they are in a pennant race.

In my personal case, I observe Yom Kippur by fasting, but I still work (if it falls on a workday). I also don't attend synagogue (why be different from the other 364 days of the year). I'm not sure what Shawn Green's precise beliefs are. Judaism is somewhat more open to interpretation than some other religions; as my mother says, the only thing two Jews can agree on is how much a third one should give to charity. If Green is not opposed to working and is merely fasting, then his decision makes sense; he could play tonight having recently eaten dinner (although he would have to lay off the sunflower seeds and Gatorade during the game, and skip the chicken a la king afterwards (and if you understand that "chicken a la king" reference, I am impressed)). But by Saturday afternoon he would be into the last 6 hours of his fast and probably not at his perky best for a baseball game.

I find it easier to go to work, actually, since you aren't surrounded by food like you are at home. Being at home while fasting is like being on a restrictive diet; it makes you aware of just how many times during the day you think of eating something.

Here's a page about Yom Kippur. It says you're supposed to avoid washing and bathing (shouldn't be a problem -- why be different from the other 364 days of the year, right?). I wonder if blogging is prohibited (is there a blogging rabbi? Of course!)...there's also some tips on fasting. Hmmm, that's sort of like giving advice on how to not climb a mountain. Just don't do it! I don't know if I have comparatively easy fasts, since I've only done it in my body. Certainly I can go without breakfast or lunch on any given day without collapsing. But fasting is a bit like getting a shot at the doctor's. You sort of remember what it feels like, but you can't really remember until it happens.

Posted by AdamBa at September 24, 2004 10:20 PM

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Thanks for the link to my blog!

As it happens, I'm not a rabbi (hence the "velveteen" part of my title), though there are a bunch of blogging rabbis out there -- I'm fond of http://1rabbi.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Rachel at September 27, 2004 03:20 PM