Gen. 24:48 — ואברך את יהוה אלהי אברהם אשר הנחני בדרך אמת
Deut. 6:6-7 — והיו הדברים האלה אשר אנכי מצוך היום על לבבך ודברת בם בלכתך בדרך
Acts 24:14 — אני מודה כי אני בדרך ההיא אשר יקבוה מפלגה בה אני עובד את אלהי אבותינו וכי אני מאמין בכל הכתוב בתורה ובנביאים



Easy fast? צום קל is offering "Easy Fast" pills to aid people on Yom Kippur. Now, some of these are specifically for pregnant and nursing women, who perhaps should not be fasting anyway [one relevant discussion can be found at A Mother in Israel]. But there are also pills for everyone that are designed to "curb appetite" and "control thirst." Does this make sense? Should one even want or wish others an "easy" fast? Isn't the whole point of fasting that it can be one way of humbling or afflicting the soul (תְּעַנּוּ אֶת־נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם, וְעִנִּיתֶם אֶת־נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם, Lev. 16:29 & 16:31, Num. 29:7)?

On a related note, is the rabbinic prohibition of bathing and oils contradicted by Matt. 6:16-18 ("when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face")?

For those who like parody, see the Schmelvian rules about Yom Kippur from Voices on the Hasidic Fringe.


Why we need another way

Recently I received two pieces of writing on the topic of which foods are permissible for Jews to eat. One author, calling himself a Messianic Jew, argued that we can eat "anything" and that it would be wrong to make any restrictive rules, since this is what "Paul's writings" say. The other, an Orthodox Jew, discussed the intricacies of different (contradictory) rulings concerning whether one is allowed to eat a certain kind of vegetable if there is a possibility that a Gentile might have touched it at some point. He concluded that in some cases it is ok.

Right now I don't want to get into all the reasons why each of these "authoritative" and widely accepted opinions is (in my own humble opinion, of course) wrong, unbiblical, illogical, and offensive. I hear these two kinds of opinions over and over and over from these two camps, and I simply don't have the energy to keep responding to them every time. I just want to point out that we desperately need a different way. A true way. A way that is based on what Torah actually says -- about food and everything else in life.