Why Fast on Yom Kippur?
James Scott Trimm
On Yom Kippur the Torah commands us to "afflict our souls ('INuI NeFeSH)" as we read:
“And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourns among you... It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever."
"Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto YHWH... For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people... It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath."
"And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls: ye shall not do any work therein:"
The expression "to afflict your souls" in Hebrew is a euphemism meaning "to fast" (Tzom). The Hebrew phrase 'INuI NeFeSH is translated as "afflicting the soul". It also appears in a number of Scriptural passages, in which it is clear that this expression refers to fasting:
"...I afflicted (KJV: "humbled") my soul with fasting;
and my prayer returned into mine own bosom."
"...I wept, and afflicted (KJV: "chastened") my soul with fasting,
that was to my reproach."
“Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and you see not?
wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and you take no notice?..."
(Isaiah 58:3; see also vv.5 & 10)
This is because the word "Soul" Means "appetite"
It should be pointed out that one of the meanings of the word "NeFeSH", commonly translated as "soul", is in fact "appetite". For example:
"And put a knife to your throat,
if you be a man given to appetite (NeFeSH)."
" For he satisfies the longing soul (NeFeSH),
and fills the hungry soul (NeFeSH) with goodness."
"The full soul (NeFeSH) loathes a honeycomb;
but to the hungry soul (NeFeSH) every bitter thing is sweet."
“Yea, they are greedy dogs
which can never satisfy their souls (NeFeSH) (KJV: "have enough")"
This is why Acts refers to Yom Kippur as “The Day of the Fast”:
9 And we were there a long time, until even the day of the Jewish fast was past. And
it was dangerous for a man to travel by sea, and Paul counseled them,
The shofar has been blown and the Day of Atonement is fast approaching. Each year at this time it is said that the gates of heaven open and the Merkavah (divine throne-chariot) is prepared for YHWH to come and judge the earth. It is for this reason that each Yom Kippur we make intercession for the world and petition YHWH to give us at least one more year. One more year to bring His people out of Babylon and into Torah, and one more year to bring more Jewish people to a knowledge of Messiah.
Each year the sins of the world are rapidly increasing and the time of reckoning is approaching.
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