“I never fast,” the Rebbe said.
“on Yom Kippur.” “Do you eat bread,
as on a Yom Tov you’d eat beef?”
the hasid asked, in disbelief.
“To fast means that you have the time
to eat, but it would be a crime
to waste a minute eating food.
I do not fast then to be good.
The reason why I’ve never dined
on Yom Kippur is that my mind
lives in a very different realm,
as far as Harvard is from Chelm.
Can’t think of food one minute if
the mind’s on the Infinitive.”
“And what about the Ninth of Av?”
The Rebbe, too polite to laugh,
said: “I don’t think that even force will
enable me to eat a morsel
of food that day. When Temples burn
does not each Jewish stomach turn?
Don’t call me an iconoclast:
when you can’t eat you cannot fast.”
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored “Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.