For the week ending 25 January 2014 / 24 Shevat 5774

Yoma 79 - 85

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Amount of food and drink consumed on Yom Kippur
  • that is punishable by extirpation
  • Consumption of food in irregular fashion
  • Analysis of Torah’s phrasing of command to fast
  • Mitzvah of eating on day before Yom Kippur
  • Consumption of inedible food
  • At what age one begins fasting
  • When fasting endangers life
  • The rules of martyrdom
  • When doctor and patient disagree on need to break fast
  • Saving the dangerously ill with forbidden food
  • Cure for the bite of a mad dog and other maladies
  • Saving someone buried under rubble on Shabbat or Yom Kippur
  • The source for violating the Shabbat to save a life
  • The range of sins and the atonement for them

When Eating is Like Fasting

Just as there is a mitzvah to fast on Yom Kippur, there is a mitzvah to eat well on the day before Yom Kippur.

This is derived from the passage containing the command “You shall afflict yourselves on the ninth day of the month (Tishrei) at evening.” (Vayikra 23:32)

Do we then fast on the ninth, asks the Sage Chiya bar Rav of Diftie, when Yom Kippur is actually on the tenth of the month?

His conclusion is that the Torah is hinting that one who eats and drinks on the ninth is considered as if he fasted on both the ninth and the tenth.

While the obvious reason for eating well on the ninth is to strengthen one for the fast that will achieve atonement for his sins, the question remains as to why this idea is conveyed in the terminology of fasting rather than of eating. The explanation offered by the commentaries is that the credit one receives for performing a mitzvah involving pain far exceeds a painless performance. The Torah therefore expresses this command to eat in terms of fasting to communicate the idea that one who eats on the day before Yom Kippur will be credited as if he was performing this mitzvah with the pain of fasting.

  • Yoma 81b

What the Sages Say

“The sins which one commits in relation to G-d are atoned for by Yom Kippur. But sins committed towards a person are not atoned for by Yom Kippur until he asks that person’s forgiveness.”

  • Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah - Yoma 85b

“How fortunate are you, O Israel! Before Whom are you becoming purified and Who is it that purifies you? It is your Father in Heaven… and just as a mikveh purifies the ritually impure, so does the Blessed G-d purify you.”

  • Rabbi Akiva - Yoma 85b

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