Concerning Yom Kippur, fasting is not the point but, I suspect, most people know this.
Abstaining from food (and water) is merely a means to an end; a path to reach a goal. When we afflict the soul, it’s to break down our appetite for earthly things because, Nephesh in Hebrew is connected to the idea of an appetite (see Proverbs 23:2-3). The ultimate goal of going without sustenance in our physical body is to focus on feeding the soul of man's holiness inside; feeding our desire for food on the Bread from Heaven (above). Or, as YHVH said to all Israel:
So he humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of YHVH. In other words, we are to hunger and thirst for righteousness (justice). - Deuteronomy 8:3.
What better way to approach this truth than to exchange the appetite of the body for the satiating and nourishing of the soul with the true food and drink from Heaven?
In the Torah at Leviticus 16:21-22, the ancient ceremony linked to the biblical lesson of Yom Kippur is explained to us. Briefly, it says:
"Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness BY THE HAND OF A SUITABLE MAN."
This narrative tells us that the Yom Kippur ceremony must be done -
"...by the hand of a suitable man.”
The Hebrew is, “Yad ish-iti hamidbarah.” This is truly amazing. The Hebrew term “iti” (Ayin-Tav-Yud) is a term that is used to speak about time. In Israeli street language Hebrew, if someone asks often you do something, a possible answer might be, “M’et L’et” – “from time to time.” The text of Leviticus 16:21 uses this term for time essentially telling us that the Yom Kippur ceremony will be accomplished -
"BY THE YAD (helping hand) OF MY TIMELY MAN WHO LEADS A GOAT OUT TOWARDS THE WILDERNESS" (my paraphrase).
What is this supposed to mean?
May I suggest the concept of a hopeful expectation for the coming of Messiah, who is YHVH’s TIMELY MAN (chosen man), or the man who was expected to come AT THE RIGHT TIME, in the Name of the Word (which, in Hebrew, is the same term for "wilderness" – midbar). Interestingly, Paul seems to have deeply understood it this way, in Romans 5:6, when he said -
“For when we were still without strength, IN DUE TIME Messiah died for the ungodly.”
This fits with Leviticus 16:21. Through trusting faith in the completed work of the TIMELY MAN, it is our opportunity to DO the words of John 6:55 -
“For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”
In entering into this, we can satiate our appetite with the true nourishment from Heaven, as we remember Yom Kippur. Here’s to the TIMELY MAN of Leviticus 16:21 through whom our names have been inscribed for life in the Lamb's BOOK OF LIFE. Amen.