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Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, is observed on the tenth day of the month of Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar, which falls in September or October on the Gregorian calendar ( the calendar in common use throughout the world ).
Am Yisrael Chai, HaShem Yahweh Yeshua-Jesus Adonai
This day marks the culmination of the High Holy Days or Ten Days of Repentance, which began ten days earlier with Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur offers Jews the final opportunity of the year to repent of their sins. It is the holiest day of the Jewish year or, as the Bible describes it, the “Sabbath of Sabbaths.” The Bible states Below;
“And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
During the 24-hour period of Yom Kippur, Jews fulfill this Biblical commandment to deny themselves by fasting from food and water, engaging in intense soul-searching, and praying for forgiveness.
From the evening of the holiday until sundown the following day ( except for the few hours when they go home to sleep ), Jews are in the synagogue beseeching God for forgiveness and reflecting upon the course of their lives. An entirely different synagogue liturgy is used every year only on this day.
Yom Kippur is a day of inner purification and of reconciliation with God and fellow human beings. Judaism insists, however, that repenting, fasting, and praying atone only for those sins between man and God. Those sins committed against their fellow man require that Jews seek forgiveness personally from those they have offended as well as from GOD.
Fasting on Yom Kippur is a physical act meant to prod Jews on to spiritual matters. It is a reminder of the frailty of human existence and of the duty to act charitably toward the less fortunate. The inspiring, yet sobering, words of the 58th chapter of Isaiah are read publicly in the synagogue on Yom Kippur to reveal the true meaning of the Yom Kippur fast: Below;
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;”
Evening services commence with the recitation of the Kol Nidrei prayer, one of the most powerful and emotionally evocative in all of Jewish liturgy. Kol Nidrei is a plea for absolution from any and all unfulfilled vows a person may have made in the course of the year.
At every opening Yom Kippur service, Jews feel an abundance of emotions as they listen to the sorrowful strains of the Kol Nidrei melody and recall their history of persecution and suffering. Both the words and the melody of the prayer end in a triumphant note of optimism, leading from despair to hope. This prayer encapsulates the Jewish historical experience and vision for the future.
Happy Yom Kippur