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    A cup of tea on a day without food

    There was a person I knew who used to say that he just had to have a cup of tea on Yom Kippur morning or else he would not be able to fast all day!

    The fact is that fasting entails going without one’s cup of tea. Hopefully our post-Yom Kippur actions will include making sure that hunger is alleviated all over the world and no-one runs short of a cup of tea. That is possibly why our day-long fast is good for us, because it teaches us to be good and considerate to others.

    But there is a deeper personal sense in which Judaism, which places such emphasis on eating, demonstrably proves to us that we can actually survive a day without food, provided that when the day comes to an end we can resume a (now hopefully more sensible) food regimen.

    The fast should help us to get our priorities right. Not only in regard to what we eat, with its concomitant that our food should be kosher, but how we eat, especially in terms of living without lust. Lust applies both in terms of food and in coarseness – grobkeit – in everything.

    Max Nordau said, “No task of civilisation has been so painfully laborious as the subjugation of lasciviousness. The pornographist would take from us the fruit of this, the hardest struggle of humanity.”

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