The wrong Yom Kippur

Just think how different the world would be if all the Jews who are observing Yom Kippur this weekend would observe it the way the prophet Isaiah (chapter 58) taught:

1 “Cry aloud; do not hold back;

lift up your voice like a trumpet;

declare to my people their transgression,

to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 Yet they seek me daily

and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that did righteousness

and did not forsake the judgment of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments;

they delight to draw near to God.

3 [They say,] ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?

Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’

 

[God responds] Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,

and oppress all your workers.

4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

and to hit with a wicked fist.

Fasting like yours this day

will not make your voice to be heard on high.

 

5 Is such the fast that I choose,

a day for a person to humble himself?

Is it to bow down his head like a reed,

and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?

Will you call this a fast,

and a day acceptable to the Lord?

 

6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:

to loosen the bonds of wickedness,

to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

and to break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry

and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him,

and not to hide yourself from your own flesh [i.e. your family]?

8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,

and your healing shall spring up speedily;

your righteousness shall go before you;

the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

 

9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

If you take away the yoke from your midst,

the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry

and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

then shall your light rise in the darkness

and your gloom be as the noonday.

 

11 And the Lord will guide you continually

and satisfy your desire in scorched places

and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water,

whose waters do not fail.

12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;

you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

you shall be called the repairer of the breach,

the restorer of streets to dwell in.

If an atheist like me finds so much beauty and inspiration in this passage, why don’t all the Jews who will be spending their fast in synagogue the whole day?  If you think those words came from God, why aren’t you inspired to follow them more than I am?

So explain to me again how Yom Kippur ended up being observed in exactly the way that the prophet warns NOT to observe a fast day?

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