Fast or feast? Why not both?
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Fast or feast? Why not both?

Let’s face it, the Jewish High Holiday season is killer on one’s waistline. Fortunately for the diet-conscious, this year most of the holidays fall out on weekends, which means no triple yuntuffs (two days of Yom Tov directly followed or preceded by Shabbat). A triple YT means even more food with less time to prep and usually cholent just seems like such a letdown after brisket and other Yuntuff specialties.

We all know food is the center of almost every Jewish holiday, which we’ve all heard can be boiled down to “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.” But this season just seems to be hitting hard and fast at ruining that resolution to drop a few pounds.

Let’s run down the list, shall we?

Last weekend we had Rosh HaShanah and Shabbat. Two big dinners + two big lunches = Why Fast of Gedalia was placed immediately after Rosh HaShanah.

Sukkot starts the evening of Oct. 2, coinciding with Shabbat. Another four big meals. This time bring a blanket in case it gets cold in the sukkah. (It also helps with modesty in case you eat so much you feel the need to loosen your pants.)

At the end of Sukkot is Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, again coinciding with Shabbat. Two big Shabbat meals, and eating and drinking through the night on Simchat Torah. You will get plenty of exercise. Then if you can still stand during the day of Simchat Torah, there’s more nosh.

And we cannot forget Yom Kippur, which starts Sunday night. Of course, we have Shabbat first, with its two big meals. And then, you think maybe you get a break from all the eating with a fast day. Wrong! Even this major fast day is capped by large meals. The sages (or maybe it was my bubbe) say that having a large meal before the fast is just as meritorious as the act of fasting. And of course, we all know how dangerous the buffet line is at the break-the-fast afterward. Woe be to he who get between Jews and bagels at the end of Yom Kippur.

Then we get a break. Aside from the weekly Shabbat feasts we have no holidays until Chanukah, which this year begins Dec. 11. Then we’ll start frying up the taters and downing the jelly doughnuts. Purim seems like almost a let down after that with hamantaschen (can you tell which side of the hamantaschen/latke debate I’m on?) and then we have Pesach. Not only does this holiday bring with it several large meals but the added benefit of the matzoh carb fest. Then we finish off with Shavuot, the holiday that’s probably the worst for our cholesterol. Mmmm, cheesecake….

Oh well. May HaShem decree for us this Yom Kippur lower cholesterol, fewer pounds, and better fitting clothes.

On a related note, for those not heading to shul this Yom Kippur but still desiring a spiritual experience, JewishTVNetwork.com is broadcasting a live Kol Nidre service on the night of Sept. 27. The service will be broadcast from Nashuva in Los Angeles, and led by Rabbi Naomi Levy, who has been honored with numerous awards and honors, including inclusion on the list of Top 50 Rabbis in America and Top 50 most influential Jews.

You will have to provide your own food, though.

The Big Lipowsky wishes everybody a Shabbat shalom, and an easy and meaningful fast. Shanah tovah u’metukah.

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