FRIDAY, September 29th
During the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when we focus on doing Teshuvah, leaving behind negative behaviors and returning to positive mitzvot we have neglected, there is a long-standing tradition of increasing our tzedakah and other worthy deeds. This is not just a matter of trying to be good for ten days to “trick” God into giving us a favorable judgment on Yom Kippur—obviously the One who knows our innermost thoughts is not susceptible to such tricks. Rather, I would suggest this is about behaving a little more righteously for these ten days in the hopes that some of this positive behavior sticks with us in the year to come.
Each year on Yom Kippur, we read the warning of Yishayahu that fasting and prayer are not enough, if we don’t also attend to the needs of our larger community. “Surely this is the fast I choose: To break open the shackles of wickedness, to undo the bonds of injustice, and to let the oppressed go free, and annul all perversion. Surely you should break your bread for the hungry and bring the moaning poor to your home; when you see a naked person, clothe him; and do not hide yourself from your kin.”
One simple way of heeding Yishayahu’s stirring message, is to take the money we are saving on food by fasting on Yom Kippur and donate it to help feed others. This helps connect the introspective nature of fasting to the outward-focused concern of giving tzedakah. The organization Fast for Feast (http://www.fastforfeast.org/kitc) makes it easy to donate the money you would have spent on food to fight hunger both here in Sacramento and in Israel. If we all do this, our small individual donations will combine to make a meaningful impact. I encourage everyone to join me in supporting this effort, along with the other tzedakah you would normally be giving at this time of year.
G’mar Chatima Tovah!