Last night, we all sat down to the table to a vegetable soup that I had made for the celebration of Day of Atonement. As we sat down, one of the children asked, 'why are we only eating vegies? where's the meat?' And I respnded with, "well, dad is going to read out the passage of scripture now that tells us why we are 'fasting' from meat this Shabbat. We aren't going to eat nothing; we'll eat vegies and fruit and drink water as our fast".
So my awesome husband read from Leviticus 23. He looked up and said, "Um actually it doesn't say 'fast' in there - it says to 'afflict your souls'."
I said, "Oh it must be in Leviticus 16 then". So we read that.
It wasn't in there either.
So where did it say 'to fast' on the Day of Atonement in the Torah (instructions) Abba Father lovingly gave us? I was sure it was there! Somewhere?
So I finished my soup and got online to the Blue Letter Bible and typed in Lev 23 and began reading through till i got to the phrase 'afflict one's soul'. I clicked on the Stong's number above it and found it linked to a Hebrew word called 'anah' which means to humble, to stoop, to become low, to be bowed down.
Nowhere did it mention fast.
Ok, so what? Fasting's not a bad and evil thing, it is in fact Scriptural (in other places) and helps us focus on God and His Word. Yes. This is true.
But here is what I (and Brett) have a problem with: We sincerley thought this was a scriptural Torah command. We thought that Yahweh had himself instituted a fast on this day. Why had we thought that? Well in my Bible it has a footnote saying at 'afflict one's soul' - means 'fast'. And as you can see, from looking at the root of this word, it actually doesn't.
Well, this morning I had a very quick look at my friend Stephanie's blog post which was titled 'Yom HaKippurim' and she linked to THIS PDF WHICH I FOUND A REAL BLESSING TO READ TODAY.
Then we were skyping with our friends Jono and Christine after chatting about these very things ONLY last night and they said we should read it too. (We had a lovely time of internet fellowship with them this morning delving deeper into the Word!) So I downloaded it and it really confirmed many of the things we looked at last night. I had even thought of the 'fasting' in Isaiah 58 that God speaks about and the true fasting He requires of serving others, humbling yourself to care for the homeless and clothe and feed the poor. I couldn't believe that then the author of this article talked about these exact things.
I just LOVE that He is teaching us daily new things; blowing our minds! Getting rid of preconceived ideas - even new ones that we have. We want to know His truth and live that out. We want to feast on His Word (His Word to us in Torah instructions and His Word to us in Jesus!)
So, we decided not to fast.
Instead we are still talking about how we are to 'afflict' our souls (notice it is the soul not the body only that is to be afflicted) and how we can serve others. We have a prayer box to pray for needs in our family, the local community, the nation of Israel and others who do not yet know our Beloved.
Please hear me that I am not condemning those of you who choose to fast. That is NOT my intention at all. I just wanted to share my heart and what we have found out, in case, like us you too might be wondering if fasting on this day is scriptrual. As I said, there is purpose in fasting and each of us should be lead by Him in these things! May each of us be free to worship Him!
Lots of love + Shabbat Shalom!