Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur

Tonight is the beginning of Yom Kippur!! It is debated to be one of the most important holidays in the Jewish  religion. It is about going back into the past year and looking at what you are sorry for and asking for forgiveness along with giving it.
I found it interesting why Yom Kippur the day of repentance comes after Rosh Hashanah the day of judgement and new beginnings. Now after doing my research online at myjewishlearning.com, ohr.edu, and reading The Rebbetzin's Husband blog (very insightful) I have come to a conclusion of my own not saying that you all should take what I say as your official answer to me I do recommend actually going to a rabbi and asking them). I thought of it similar to a Brit Milah or a Baby Naming, where we wait eight days after a child is born to name them and if it is a boy to have a circumcision ceremony. We wait days because truthfully it is a health thing. for one we don't know what the baby's health is like the first few days so we must act with caution, and second blood clotting mechanisms begin to truly work after the seventh day. I know it is not some miraculous purpose (I am not a kabbalist so I wouldn't even know where to begin with that). thinking about that I went back to Yom Kippur. We are not fully prepared to ask forgiveness yet and we must prepare and wait till we are developed enough mentally to ask for forgiveness and Rosh Hashanah is the day to start preparing. from there we have several traditions, mitzvot (deeds), and ceremonies that take place up until Yom Kippur to rid ourselves of our sins, ask g-d and the people in our lives for forgiveness and ask for a new start. on Yom Kippur we are called to begin a fast and think of nothing but what we have been preparing for. G-d is ready to give his forgiveness and the people around you are just as ready. In my opinion though I say ask the people first. G-d has all the patience in the world to wait but your family and friends are fasting so they are going to be a little grumpy by the end of the day.
The night of is really important health wise. For twenty five hours we are meant to fast meaning no food or water, bathing, leather and an array of other dos and don'ts. Before some of you go off judging why we do this let me give you an answer. It's pretty much like a Buddhist acid trip in my opinion and I don't mean that in the wrong way. What I mean is that we are more in-tuned with our spiritual self while fasting. It is actually commanded that we spend the day in Tefilla (prayer) over eating so that all we are doing is becoming more spiritual, more angel like and less animalistic in our ways. Of course this may be difficult for some and if you are sick or just can't survive without some water or food know that g-d is not a cruel being and it is believed that HEALTH COMES FIRST!!! If you need to go for a granola bar, go for the granola bar.
With this in mind if you do intend on fasting I have some nutrition tips and recipes for a pre-fast meal and post-fast meal.

Pre-fast tips:

1. WATER! try getting in twice as much water as you usually would
2. eat small meals the day before or the day of Kol Nidre (the beginning of Yom Kippur)
3. keep the salt and caffeine to an absolute minimal
4. carbo load the meal before you begin. go with grains, legumes and add a little fat in there for storage.
5. (this one I am still debating on) eat a sugary dessert. that doesn't mean go for a reese's (although I would want to). go for a fruit. it will give you the energy you need for the services coming right after.

Pre-fast recipe:

Chicken and Winter Squash Tzimmes (ashkenazi stew)

9 cups cubed peeled butternut, buttercup or hubbard squash (1-inch cubes; see Tip)
1 cup small pitted prunes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds), trimmed
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Place squash, prunes, garlic, shallots, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle chicken with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and place on top of the vegetables. Mix broth, orange zest and juice in a small bowl and pour over the chicken. Cover the baking dish with foil.

3. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, basting often, about 1 hour more.

Steamed Spinach and Cashews.

1 costco bag of spinach
1 cup chopped chashews
Hot sauce or salsa and Dijon mustard to taste.

Steam the spinach till soft, mix with the dijon mustard and hot sauce, let it cool and add the cashews.

Post-Fast tips

1. pace yourself
2. start with a juice or something with nutrients and sugar
3. go low sodium
4. WATER!!!!
5. if you are able to go with a dairy meal over a meat meal. the sugars in your body are depleted and this will help plus at this time it may be easier on your stomach if you are not intolerant or allergic to dairy.

Post-fast recipe

Baked Eggs with Zucchini (serves 1)

    6 eggs, beaten
    2 cups sliced zucchini, unpeeled
    1/3 cup almond milk
    dash of salt & pepper
    Feta cheese

Mix everything together and place in a casserole dish and into the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. a few minutes before it is done sprinkle the cheese on top. 

Beet and Sweet Potato Casserole with Goat Cheese

4 cups of cubed beets
4 cups of cubed Sweet Potato
3 cloves of garlic minced
4 TB chopped scallions (give or take)
1 bag (250 -350 g) goats cheese
Olive oil

lightly toss veggies with some EVOO, place them in a casserole dish with the cheese and bake it for 1 hr-1.5 hrs and serve almighty deliciousness!

As for myself I am letting others do the cooking for a change because I really want to take the time to ponder on what I need to ask for forgiveness. As for now I am sorry to those I haven't been in contact as much, sorry to my parents for being a little to spoiled as for g-d... I am not sorry for what you have made me to be but I am sorry I haven't done what I set out to do this past year. I am sure there is more so I must go now and contemplate.

Till Next Time!

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