The real meaning of Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur (in Hebrew)

Level: Basic

Significance: Day of Atonement
Observances: Fasting, Prayer and Repentance
Length: 25 Hours
Greeting: Have an easy fast
Liturgy additions: Annulment of vows; lengthy confession of sins

…In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and you shall not do any work … For on that day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the L-RD. -Leviticus 16:29-30

Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri. The holiday is instituted at Leviticus 23:26 et seq.

The name “Yom Kippur” means “Day of Atonement,” and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the “books” in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

As I noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath; no work can be performed on that day. It is well-known that you are supposed to refrain from eating and drinking (even water) on Yom Kippur. It is a complete, 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur. The Talmud also specifies additional restrictions that are less well-known: washing and bathing, anointing one’s body (with cosmetics, deodorants, etc.), wearing leather shoes (Orthodox Jews routinely wear canvas sneakers under their dress clothes on Yom Kippur), and engaging in sexual relations are all prohibited on Yom Kippur.

As always, any of these restrictions can be lifted where a threat to life or health is involved. In fact, children under the age of nine and women in childbirth (from the time labor begins until three days after birth) are not permitted to fast, even if they want to. Older children and women from the third to the seventh day after childbirth are permitted to fast, but are permitted to break the fast if they feel the need to do so. People with other illnesses should consult a physician and a rabbi for advice.

Most of the holiday is spent in the synagogue, in prayer. In Orthodox synagogues, services begin early in the morning (8 or 9 AM) and continue until about 3 PM. People then usually go home for an afternoon nap and return around 5 or 6 PM for the afternoon and evening services, which continue until nightfall. The services end at nightfall, with the blowing of the tekiah gedolah, a long blast on the shofar. See Rosh Hashanah for more about the shofar and its characteristic blasts.

It is customary to wear white on the holiday, which symbolizes purity and calls to mind the promise that our sins shall be made as white as snow (Is. 1:18). Some people wear a kittel, the white robe in which the dead are buried.

Yom Kippur Liturgy

See also Jewish Liturgy generally.

The liturgy for Yom Kippur is much more extensive than for any other day of the year. Liturgical changes are so far-reaching that a separate, special prayer book for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. This prayer book is called the machzor.

Play Music The evening service that begins Yom Kippur is commonly known as Kol Nidre, named for the prayer that begins the service. “Kol nidre” means “all vows,” and in this prayer, we ask G-d to annul all personal vows we may make in the next year. It refers only to vows between the person making them and G-d, such as “If I pass this test, I’ll pray every day for the next 6 months!” Click the musical notes to hear a portion of the traditional tune for this prayer.

This prayer has often been held up by anti-Semites as proof that Jews are untrustworthy (we do not keep our vows), and for this reason the Reform movement removed it from the liturgy for a while. In fact, the reverse is true: we make this prayer because we take vows so seriously that we consider ourselves bound even if we make the vows under duress or in times of stress when we are not thinking straight. This prayer gave comfort to those who were converted to Christianity by torture in various inquisitions, yet felt unable to break their vow to follow Christianity. In recognition of this history, the Reform movement restored this prayer to its liturgy.

There are many additions to the regular liturgy (there would have to be, to get such a long service <grin>). Perhaps the most important addition is the confession of the sins of the community, which is inserted into the Shemoneh Esrei (Amidah) prayer. Note that all sins are confessed in the plural (we have done this, we have done that), emphasizing communal responsibility for sins.

There are two basic parts of this confession: Ashamnu, a shorter, more general list (we have been treasonable, we have been aggressive, we have been slanderous…), and Al Cheit, a longer and more specific list (for the sin we sinned before you forcibly or willingly, and for the sin we sinned before you by acting callously…) Frequent petitions for forgiveness are interspersed in these prayers. There’s also a catch-all confession: “Forgive us the breach of positive commands and negative commands, whether or not they involve an act, whether or not they are known to us.”

It is interesting to note that these confessions do not specifically address the kinds of ritual sins that some people think are the be-all-and-end-all of Judaism. There is no “for the sin we have sinned before you by eating pork, and for the sin we have sinned against you by driving on Shabbat” (though obviously these are implicitly included in the catch-all). The vast majority of the sins enumerated involve mistreatment of other people, most of them by speech (offensive speech, scoffing, slander, talebearing, and swearing falsely, to name a few). These all come into the category of sin known as “lashon ha-ra” (lit: the evil tongue), which is considered a very serious sin in Judaism.

The concluding service of Yom Kippur, known as Ne’ilah, is one unique to the day. It usually runs about 1 hour long. The ark (a cabinet where the scrolls of the Torah are kept) is kept open throughout this service, thus you must stand throughout the service. There is a tone of desperation in the prayers of this service. The service is sometimes referred to as the closing of the gates; think of it as the “last chance” to get in a good word before the holiday ends. The service ends with a very long blast of the shofar. See Rosh Hashanah for more about the shofar and its characteristic blasts.

After Yom Kippur, one should begin preparing for the next holiday, Sukkot, which begins five days later.

About urielperez

His leadership and television interviews have gone trough out the world Uriel has done close to 500 interviews in Israel Jerusalem, and many more to come our main goal is to educate the world about Israel and its right to protect herself from any form of terrorism .Israel is facing many challenges and dangers, and has been for a very long time. There is, an unprecedented propaganda campaign initiated by the Arab League to demonize, to discredit and delegitimize the Jewish people and its state, in its own land!. In order to achieve their goals, the Arabs have for more than 30 years resorted to a deliberate misinformation campaign.This propaganda campaign by the Arab League - both in their own countries and for the last three decades exported to Europe and North America - has caused to Israel what would seem irreparable damage and indeed, it was the main culprit in the reawakening of dormant European anti-Semitism Israel has suffered many terror attacks from terrorist .Israel should not bow down to any pressure imposed by the USA the EU. the Quartet nor the UN The current Obama administration continues to work behind the scenes by using John Kerry and others to fulfill their hidden agenda as I call it. The Obama administration is trying to force Israel to give up more land for false peace as we have seen in the past .Judea and Samaria and possibly the Jordan Valley are at the negotiating table and if the so called Palestinians obtain Judea and Samaria and possibly the Jordan Valley, Givat Haroe'eh in the Samaria community of Eli, Ramat Gilad and Giv'at Assaf (also in Samaria), and Mitzpeh Lachish, near Nehogot, outside Hevron. they can easily rain down rockets towards any city within Israel and Israel will be left without defensible borders . We say no land for false peace as we have seen in the past. Barrack Hussein Obama has a hidden agenda against Israel. Israel will face many difficult days ahead See Psalms 83' as we have seen what happened with Gush Katif were almost 9,000 Jews were forced out of their own Jewish land due to US pressure , now Bet El Almuna and Migron and Judea and Samaria face the same consequence .More than 17,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel over 11,000, just to Sderot by Islamist extremist who want the total destruction of my people Israel. Hamas terrorist who are supported by Iran and now Hamas has joined hands with Fatah.Iran Lebanon Hezbollah Syria want the total destruction of Israel and now Al Qaeda and ISIS who are operating in Syria Egypt and the Sinai Desert will do anything in their power to destroy my people Israel and all Jews. The Moslem/ Arabs in that area started calling themselves “Palestinians” nearly 40 years ago. “Palestinian” refers to people who live in Palestine: Arabs (“Arabic speaking peoples”), Bedouins, Druze, Christians, and Jews. No people or nation ever ruled as a sovereign national entity on this land there is no Palestinian language or culture in past history. Palestine, as a country does not presently exist. No Arab nation has their historical roots on the land and no one have cl...aim to this territory other than the Jews. The Jewish rule of this land extended over a period of over 2000 years. Israel became a nation in the land in 1312 BC. God gave them the land in a covenant (Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20) and they lived there See Quote from Quran', Death to the enemies of Allah Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. They shall be held up to shame in this world and sternly punished in the hereafter: except those that repent before you reduce them. For you must know that Allah is forgiving and merciful.Al-Maidah The Table 5:33-34 This is what radical Islam say's about us Jews' "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim). Judea and Samaria also faces many challenges in the days to come as Abbu Massen will try to pressure the entire world and US President Barrack Hussein Obama the EU and the Quartet into giving more land for false peace we saw what happened after the Oslo Accords were signed more terror against Israel . Abbu Massen the PA. leader approached the United Nations this past November 2012 and has ask them to declare them a recognized nation within Israel known borders. The time has come to tell the entire world the real truth about the enemies of Israel .We speak on the Quran with a Power Point with videos. We have spoken on CNN TV and radio stations on the current issues of Israel, Uriel has a heart for his people Israel and will continue to inform the entire world the real truth as many News Media trough out the world are anti-Semitic and won't tell you the real truth. Born in the USA lives in Israel Jerusalem knows karate and Boxing played semi pro baseball married to Efrat and we have two children a girl and a son all three of them are born in Jerusalem . I discovered in 2004 that were possible Converso Marrano Jews from Spain who's ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism during the time of the Inquisition in 1492 .Our family names Centeno and Perez are registered in El Libro Verde De Aragon in Spain were the catholic Inquisitors maintained all the names of all Jewish families who were forced to convert to Catholicism during that horrible time period in Spain.A former police officer who knows Karate boxing played semi pro Baseball studied at Temple University political science. Since 2004 we have been Flying back and forth from the USA speaking to the nations on the current issues of the the state of Israel see Psalms 83' as the nations gather against Israel.Have spoken on CNN AL Jazeera Al Arabiya Dubai TV Holland TV German TV also American Family Radio which links up with 700 radio stations .Our goal is to educate the entire world that Israel has the right to self determination and the right to defend itself from terrorism For Bookings call USA-1321-593-0960 Israel 972526357088 Support our work Via Paypal to judah92@gmail.com Visit our Youtube News Channel directly from Israel Jerusalem http://youtu.be/6IdveOM-Njg https://twitter.com/Jerusalem2004 https://www.youtube.com/user/MrUriel2004 http://youtu.be/jleJ9zKQqUU https://www.facebook.com/pages/News-videos-from-Israel/482484308485691 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Breaking-News-from-Israel-Jerusalem/238100002867219 https://urielperezcenteno.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/ForthesakeofJerusalem/ י חָשַׂף יְהוָה אֶת-זְרוֹעַ קָדְשׁוֹ, לְעֵינֵי כָּל-הַגּוֹיִם; וְרָאוּ, כָּל-אַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ, אֵת, יְשׁוּעַת אֱלֹהֵינוּ. {ס} The LORD hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
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