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Why Do You Have to Bring In Auschwitz?

Rabbi Grossman seems to fast on Yom Kippur for reasons ranging from something to do with snapping at her son to not being in the Holocaust. This is all very nice. I, too, don’t like snapping at children. And boy, am I happy I am not in an Auschwitz gas chamber this September. But what, may I ask, does any of this have to do with Yom Kippur??

Personally, I do not need some 24-hour food shock therapy to make me realize how lucky I am not to be in a concentration camp. And for that matter, I hope no one does.

The truth of the matter is the rabbi doth protest too much. Rabbi Grossman’s 1001 reasons to fast on Yom Kippur only point out how absolutely meaningless and amorphous the fast has become for Americans today. There might be a million reasons as to why one would fast, but I can’t think of any one better than that’s just what Jews do on Yom Kippur.

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posted September 27, 2006 at 6:10 pm

Rabbi With all due respect, the only thing meaningless and amorphous around here are your bleak posts.

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posted September 28, 2006 at 3:45 am

Rabbi Stern, I was raised by a jewish woman, a Right wing Zionist, for who jewish history ended with the expulsion from israel after bar kochba, and with the exception of the expulsion from Spain in 1492, besically didn’t have a History until the Holocaust. When i got to College, I ended up taking a few Jewish History Courses, Joined Hillel,and Learned that I missed learning about more history than one person could learnm in a Lifetime. In learning about jewish Philosophy, I was ably to get beyond the :”we do it because we’ve always done it this way”,to “We do it for this reason, or even for that reason” but the reasoning is what makes up human, what makes us modern.

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Chana Silverman

posted September 28, 2006 at 4:19 pm

In response to first post: I do not know if it has anything to do with Yom Kippur or not – but thinging about sensless and untimely deaths brings home to me how insensitive to others I can be and how fragile human life is – may I not sin against my fellow human beings – as for fasting – to each his own ability I think – if fasting brings out the worse in one – maybe that is a good thing for one to look at. Are we not to confess our worse on Yom Kippur and be cleansed from it?

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posted September 29, 2006 at 10:05 pm

the reason we fast, is because our maker gave us this command. that should be enough reason. i think in this day and age we tend to think what is best for us, what fits into our schedule, or simply what “i” want to do. worshipping our creator is partly obedience to his word, not just fitting him into our life when it is convienent.

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posted October 1, 2006 at 11:10 am

Re: grammyro’s comment about fasting.I agree. I will do what God tells me to do in HIS word. It really doesn’t matter if it does,or does not, fit into “today’s” society or philosophy. I believe that it was King Solomon who said,” There is nothing new under the sun……….” He learned at the end of his life that the only thing in life that matters is obeying God! Interestingly enough, here is a man who was the wisest man that ever lived, He was the richest man that ever lived, (even more rich than Bill Gates), and was respected by all……..,yet even he realized, at the end of his life, that “obedience is better than sacrifice”! It really isn’t about what we think is right or good or convenient, only what God says will matter at the end of our life. Whether we choose to recognize the truth or not, God’s truth will never change and neither will He. He is the same, Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is the one and only constant we have in our lives. And whether we choose to acknowledge this or not will never change who and what HE is. We have become THE most selfish, self-centered and self-absorbed society that ever lived. If it feel good…… it; if it doesn;t feel good…………..don’t inconvenient me. Shame on us!!!!!!! As Joshua said, “Choose ye THIS day whom you shall serve; as for me and MY house, we shall serve the Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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posted October 1, 2006 at 9:36 pm

I wonder if Rabbi Stern is indeed being a devil’s advocate….or whether he says things to provoke discussion….which is helpful. I am an elderly woman who has enjoyed studying Judaism, not necessarily just from a religious viewpoint; and my studies have validated that from ethics to philosophy, everyhing is in the Torah..and the Talmud. So, for whatever it is worth, I know what has been meaningful to me, whether it be study, prayer or deeds of human kindness. What is has done is to give a dimension to my life…including the basics of community, which includes sharing holidays and family events..which I’m not sure can be as meaningfully shared. So have a good New Year…with all of the hope and optimism that have sustained Jews throughout the centuries. DottieK

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posted October 1, 2006 at 9:42 pm

we all do what we know to be right in our hearts. I agree with those that serve the Lord as the Lord requests, not as is easiest for their lifestyle.Arent you glad He didn’t COMMAND fasting once a week? Have a healthy fast- in His name!

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posted October 4, 2006 at 5:55 pm

As for myself, being the only child of concentration camp survivors, I fast to the maximum extent I can endure not just as atonement for my own mortal and substantial sins, and a sought-after heartfelt connection to a past long gone; but also in solemn and desperate prayer for the forgiveness of a broken world. In a great spiritual sense, the fall of the Temple freed us to such a great and cleansing extent from the tyranny of a corrupt priestly theocracy, restoring the “intermediary free” formula for salvation first prescribed at Mt. Sinai. Rome passed to us the unwitting gift of rabbinical Judaism, intellectually revitalizing and decentralizing our religion down to this very day. Man can pray for man individually and within the context of free will, directly each within their own way, and the still small voice can be heard or not according to individual desire. “Intermediary-free” prayer, must also of necessity mean that each as their own rabbi must be trusted to exercise the gift of free will as God intended it, the greatest gift of all. This ultimately means that all who choose the good must be allowed to exercise that choice, that observance, to the greatest extent they can and not to the greatest extent demanded by arbitrary measures. This doesn’t mean laziness substitutes for faith, but that necessity tempers blind obedience. For example: I have served in the military for many years, and many of my deployments have taken me away from home during holidays religious and civil. I have been fortunate to be accompanied into the field by rabbis on almost every deployment, and I am grateful for membership in a service that has been solicitous for the observance of my religious needs. Now, most (but not all) of these Rabbis have been Orthodox. But even they have emphasized that when in the performance of duties deemed necessary for the defense of life (Yiddishkeit or Gentile), a Jew is obliged to be observant to the reasonably greatest extent deemed possible within logic and the law as long as it doesn’t threaten life or bring disgrace upon our faith. “Do the best you can in every circumstance to honor God and our heritage” has been the rule of these Rabbis, and I think it is an applicable rule of reason to all.

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