Yom Kippur Soliloquy

March 1, 2010
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To eat, or not to eat? That is the question—
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of appetite
Or to take arms against agony of the Fast
And, by opposing, end them? To nourish, to relieve—
No more—and by relieve to say we end
The stomachache and thousand side effects
That flesh is heir to—‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished! To nourish, to relieve.
To relieve, perchance to endure—ah, there’s the rub,
For in what relief of dining what strength might come
When we have given up on this weakened state
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long starvation.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of services,
The guilt trip’s wrong, the pantyhose’s constriction
The pangs of despised hunger, the threats of Jewish law,
The confusion of Hebrew, and the repentance
For sins too numerous to mention,
When she herself might ease make
With a piece of challah? Who would distress bear,
To suffer and tremble over weary innards,
But that the guilt of something after consumption
The familiar country from whose bourn
No Jew hopes to return, puzzles the will
And us rather bear those pains we feel in our stomachs
Than the pain we would feel in our hearts
Thus guilt does make cowards of us all,
And thus our native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of threats,
And prayer of great worth and moment
With this distraction their ease turn awry,
And lose the name of prayer—Soft you now,
The righteous Rabbi Landau!—Mench, in thy orisons
Be none of my sins remembered.

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