As I write this, my Jewish friends in Melbourne and Brisbane are having a meal before the fast of Yom Kippur begins.
Last week there was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which marks the entry to what is commonly known as the High Holy days. This ten day period is known as the Days of Awe. This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur.
Fasting on Shabbat (the Sabbath - Saturday) is not usual. In the Jewish calendar there are six fasts. If any one of them (apart from
Yom Kippur) falls out on Shabbat,
Shabbat takes precedence and there is no fasting on that day. The fast is
usually pushed off until Sunday (or in one instance -- the Fast of Esther -- it
is observed on the Thursday beforehand, because the day after Shabbat, Sunday,
will be Purim).
The one exception to this rule is Yom Kippur, when we fast even if it is Shabbat, as it is a biblical fast, and the
it "Shabbat Shabbaton" - the Shabbat of Shabbats (in English, the
Sabbath of Sabbaths) implying that it takes precedence over Shabbat.
"Tsom Kal" (have an easy fast)
or, if you prefer,
"Tsom Mo'iil" (have a benefitting fast)
....and after all this,
next week there is Sukkot.
I will be celebrating this at East Melbourne Synagogue.