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Sukkot Sermon: Is Fun Kosher?

October 17, 2011

For this morning, just a little unorthodox thought from an Orthodox rabbi.

First the question: what do you think is more important – fasting on Yom Kippur or being happy of Sukkot?  The question sounds ridiculous; after all, if someone came over to you at 12 o’clock on Yom Kippur and said, “Why don’t you eat something?” you would never dream of listening to them.  But if someone came over to you on Sukkot and said, “Why aren’t you happy?” you would feel comfortable in replying, “It’s none of your business!”  Fasting on Yom Kippur, or being happy on Sukkot? … doesn’t seem to be much of a question.  But I read something written by a Gil Locks that really provides food for thought.  The fact of the matter is, nowhere in the Torah are we told that you must fast on Yom Kippur.  It doesn’t say that in the Torah!  All it says in the Torah is: “V’inisem et nafshoteichem – and you shall afflict your souls.”  It doesn’t say “don’t eat!”  It just says “afflict your souls.”  Who says that “afflict” means “to fast?”  The rabbis do!  It is the rabbis who tell us that one means of affliction is to refrain from food for the whole day.  READ MORE

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