The Esrei Yamim Cleanse

Katieben’s Breakfast, one of the recipes on http://10yamimclean.wordpress.com/.

Dear GTJ community,

I’d like to invite you to 10yamimclean.wordpress.com - a blog that Arielle and I created.

For the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, join us as we undertake an intensive reflection of the mind/body/spirit connection via “The Cleanse.” The blog is a forum for recipes, meditations, reflections, and support.

We invite you to join us regardless of your religious affiliations!

Esrei Yamim is Hebrew for 10 days – it’s the term representing the ten days in between Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the day of repentance).

Here’s what I remember from Jewish Day School: Esrei Yamim is the time in which God chooses who will live and who will die in the upcoming year – God opens the book on Rosh Hashanah, and for the next ten days writes the names of who will live. On Yom Kippur, the last of the ten days, God closes the book to seal the deal. That’s why we’re so desperate to pray during those last few hours before the sun goes down on Yom Kippur. We get down on our knees and beg God for forgiveness.

It’s tradition to repent, reflect, and purify during Esrei Yamim. It’s also tradition to ask people for forgiveness.

Esrei Yamim has always been a time for me to think about the previous year – my accomplishments, successes, failures; the big questions I’ve pondered; the relationships I’ve built, maintained and broken; the holidays I’ve celebrated with friends and family; the states and countries I’ve visited; the milestones – and to consider goals for the upcoming year – identify my needs for improvement; think of where I have room to grow; figure out how I can be a better person than I was last year; apologize to people I’ve hurt; write a list of my top ten most offensive sins.

I make resolutions during the secular New Year too, but always draw a line between the types of resolutions I make on Jan 1 and Rosh Hashanah.  My resolutions for the secular New Year are typically material resolutions:  I want to stop using the word “like” in my speech. I try to keep my resolutions for Rosh Hashashah on a more spiritual plane: I want to rely more on my gut than my brain.

I think of Esrei Yamim as a time to recharge and reset, so I can start the new year on a fresh slate.

This year, Arielle and I are posing The Cleanse as an effort to integrate a mind/body/spirit connection with our Jewish traditions. We’ve done The Cleanse several times  (there’s even a category for it under the recipe index here!). I like the cleanse because it forces me to slow down and think about what I put into my body, to appreciate food that isn’t tainted by chemicals and synthetic additives, to taste the goodness of purity. Eating on the cleanse makes me feel clean.

Cleanse Rules:

We will only consume:

Vegan foods - no products derived from animals (no meat, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.)

Gluten-free foods - nothing made with wheat

Unprocessed foods - nothing packaged with more than three ingredients

Unsweetened foods - no added sugar, honey, agave, etc.

Alcohol-free beverages 

*One exception to the above rules above is to include yogurt that is organic, plain, stabilizer- and additive-free. This is a personal choice.

It sounds scary, but I promise that there’s still so so so much to eat. We will start the cleanse on Tuesday morning, Sept 18th. Visit 10yamimclean.wordpress.com for more ideas and thoughts.

L’Shana Tova,

Shaina