My friend Rabbi Nina Mizrahi writes a weekly Shabbat message for JCC Chicago. This week she found a beautiful prayer for those who aren’t able to fast for Yom Kippur:
Meditation before Yom Kippur for One who Cannot Fast By Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, LMSW © 2005/5765
Ribbono shel Olam/Master of the Universe; Creator of All, Source of All Life, Who Knows What is Deep in Human Hearts, Who Nurtures Every Living Being:
As You know, dear God,
Yom Kippur is fast approaching, and because of my condition or circumstances beyond my control,
I am not able to keep the traditional fast –
I cannot abstain totally from eating.
On this Day of Atonement, this Sabbath of Sabbaths, this year and every year, it is so central to join the people of Israel in denying ourselves food and drink for one day so that we focus on correcting our misdeeds,
on knowing our mortality;
on reaching for a life of Torah, mitzvot, and lovingkindness;
You know, dear God, that it is not my intent to be apart from our people and our tradition.
My current state of health or military training makes it difficult for me to fast
So, dear God, I turn to You now in sincerity and openness:
Help me in the coming year to do my best in guarding my health.
Help us, Your children, learn how to protect our bodies from harm.
Help us support others in caring for their tzelem Elokim, their Image of God.
Teach us to help one another grow and thrive in Body, Mind, and Spirit.
If there is an opportunity for me to help others who suffer
by doing something they need or by being attentive company –
Grant me the ability to do this mitzvah with love and devotion.
Rofeh khol basar/Healer of all living creatures:
I thank You for the breath that is in me
for the community of Israel that lives
for the possibilities of today and tomorrow.
May my eating be as a fast;
May it be dedicated to You, to T’shuvah – to the Renewal and Restoration of my Relationship
to You, to Others, and to Myself.
If you want to read more of Nina’s writings, check out http://www.gojcc.org and click on Jewish Values/Shabbat messages or Shabbat message archives.