Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
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How do we enjoy Shabbat on Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur is called Shabbat of the Shabbats, so maybe it is immaterial if Yom Kippur is also Shabbat. Well, apparently, it is not.

When Shabbat and Yom Kippur coincide, Sephardic Jews do Kabbalat Shabbat before Kol Nidre. Ashkenazic Jews who don’t say Avinu Malkenu on Shabbat or the day before Yom Kippur, then say it on Friday morning and close to the end of the Yom Kippur (basically after Shabbat). The Middle Blessing of the Main Prayer has many references to Shabbat and in fact contains and concludes with a Kiddush. After the morning Blessings and in the Middle of Mussaf, we mention the Shabbat Temple Sacrifice, and we add Shabbat to the Blessings we say over lighting Shabbat Yom Kippur candles. The number of Alliyot to the Torah reading goes from six (Yom Kippur) to seven (Shabbat) and the last Blessing on the Haftarah may mention Shabbat alone or together with Yom Kippur. And Ashkenazic Jews have an extra end-of-Shabbat Blessing in the Havdalah about smell. So we can’t say that Yom Kippur simply overrides Shabbat. (This unlike Rosh haShannah that almost completely eclipses (pun intended) Rosh Chodseh.) Shabbat stays on Yom Kippur.

(There is another rare instance of fasting on Shabbat – to help tear up an Heavenly terrible decree as indicated by certain nightmares – just as we try doing on Yom Kippur. Yet, Yom Kippur is not a (sad) Fast day; rather it’s a day so elevated that we don’t, couldn’t, can’t eat. On Yom Kippur we don’t fast – we only refrain from eating and drinking.)

But when they fall on the same day, more than Shabbat changes Yom Kippur, Yom Kippur changes Shabbat. We don’t: make Kiddush over a cup, eat three meals, sing table hymns or say blessings before or after eating (unless we must eat or drink for our health). That seems a pity.

Furthermore, there seems to be a real contradiction.

On Yom Kippur we are obligated to torment our Soul (Leviticus 16:29).

But on Shabbat we are obligated to enjoy ourselves (Isaiah 58:13-14). Normally that is done by having (and giving away) extra tasty meals.

How could we combine obligations to torment and enjoy ourselves?

Extra Soul Power

Maybe this can give an answer. On Shabbat we have an enlarged Soul (some say: extra Soul), but not on Yom Kippur, unless it’s also Shabbat. How can we know? The Shabbat Yom Kippur Ashkenazic Havdalah has this extra Blessing, meant to comfort us on the loss of extra Soul power that just took leave, which the weekday Yom Kippur Havdalah lacks.

Enhanced spirituality for Shabbat (Resh Lakish, Talmud, Beitza 16a, Rashi there explains) gives us: a heightened consciousness, repose, joy and tranquility, to respire (Exodus 31:17), and an ability to eat more without disgusting our Soul. It also enables extra Jewish learning (Rabbi Betzalel Ashkenazi). Perhaps we may say that just as (an?) extra Soul for Shabbat can help us feel great despite copious eating, just as well it could assist us on Yom Kippur to feel fantastic in spite of fasting.

In fact, when Yom Kippur is over (and the Evil Inclination doesn’t tell us anymore that we can’t take the fasting any longer, so that we now could go on without food and drinks for hours more), we often feel as if we had enormous meals on the Fast day. We feel delighted, cleansed and satisfied. We need to start eating slowly as if we were stuffed already.

So how do we do Oneg Shabbat when Yom Kippur coincides with it? We just do it through fasting helped by our Shabbat addition to our Soul. On a weekday Yom Kippur we come out feeling great too, but on a foodless Shabbat Yom Kippur we should come out bummed – but we don’t.

After Shabbat Yom Kippur just now, I asked a great Sephardic Rabbi how he was feeling. Fantastic. How come, I asked. And I answered my own question: Because just as the extra Soul on a regular Shabbat helps us to feel great despite an abundance of food, on a foodless Yom Kippur it helps us to feel great despite fasting. He replied: Great idea.

Another idea: My learning partner, Rabbi Yisrael, suggested that we’d smell herbs (with the Blessings) on Yom Kippur to help us enjoy Shabbat.

May all Jews and Gentiles (we prayed hard enough for them) all have a good and sweet year and many more to follow!

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is (partly) generated by AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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