Is Fasting an Act of Suffering?

One of the best-known features of Yom Kippur -- sometimes the only thing people know about this day -- is the fact that we are forbidden to eat and drink. What is the meaning and purpose of these prohibitions on Yom Kippur? An anthropologist visiting a synagogue on Yom Kippur might think that since no one is eating or drinking for an entire 24-hour period, the congregants are all suffering terribly. ...

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Is Repentance a Commandment?

“For this mitzvah is not far from you; it is not in heaven that you shall say ‘Who will ascend for us to the heavens...’” (Deuteronomy 30:11) Nachmanides states in his commentary that this verse refers to the positive commandment of repentance. He cites two verses as sources for this mitzvah: Deuteronomy 4:30 “...you shall return to the L-rd your G-d...”, and Deuteronomy 30:1, “And you shall return to your ...

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