I'm not Jewish, but for the last 15 years have been celebrating events on the Jewish calendar. I have learned that my digestive system is unhappy without bread, and that I don't mind fasting. That's not a contradiction.
A week of Passover turns my gut inside out.
A day of fasting for Yom Kippur is welcome.
Fasting is not about food.
It has to do with how we spend our daily lives, and what happens when we interrupt routine. When you get up in the morning, thoughts of eating are not far off. Brush teeth, wash face, put on the day's clothes - and on to breakfast. It's comforting, stabilizing, sets you up for a typical day.
Break the pattern.
Wander the kitchen for a few minutes: no, no coffee, no toast, no yogurt or piece of fruit. The morning news isn't the same without them - just skip that. Leave the kitchen - what are you doing in there anyway? You're not eating today, and you can only drink water to keep from passing out.
Go outside. Talk to god, whatever/whomever/wherever that is for you. Follow love from what you know brings joy, into the crevices where you doubt it can reach. And seek it there: in the face of the homeless woman who sells you a newspaper, in the bees pollinating trash cans, in contrails painting the sky with a gigantic Y.
What is atonement? Apology for what you did that you shouldn't have, or an effort to turn the opposite direction? Acknowledging the existence and humanity of someone invisible might be the kindest possible act.
Atoms packed close together form a solid - see it, touch it, manipulate it. Further apart, they form liquid - still visible, still tangible, but restless, taking on the forms of its containers. More space, they become gas. Now we can't quite see it, can't feel it. The vibrational space between atoms is god - more intense in a solid, more malleable in liquid, more ubiquitous in gas.
Bones, tears, breath - fragments of god, surrounded by an infinity of fragments.