Rebbe Nachman, z”l, explains that the letters of the word for obstacles, meniot, can be rearranged to be read as ne’imut, which means pleasantness. The natural barriers and obstacles of our material existence help to balance us and enable healthy spiritual connection, whose “ways are ways of pleasantness.”
Reb Nosson, z”l, uses this concept to explain why there is a mitzvah to eat on the day before Yom Kippur. Our sages explains that one who eats on the ninth of Tishrei and fasts on Yom Kippur, which is the tenth of Tishrei, is considered to have fasted through both days. The pre-fast meal is what enables us to access the intense light of Yom Kippur in a balanced way, so that it can transform our entire year.
Dear God! Please help me eat well on the day before Yom Kippur and fast on Yom Kippur. Show me how to eat as a Jew should and connect to the light and vitality of the holy fast. Help me make use of the natural barriers that You have provided to properly access the immense spiritual beauty of Your world.