Yom Kippur literally means “ends of the year.” This special holiday falls on the third day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. This is considered a somber holiday by many because it is the last day of the year to fast. Many people of the Jewish religion in the United States participate in this special holiday by fasting and prayer. It is hoped that those who fast from their faults will receive a great happy new year.
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The meaning of Yom Kippur really has nothing to do with the holiday itself. It is actually an act of God telling us that we have committed wrongs against Him and we need to atone for those wrongdoings before we enter into the holy spirit world. The holiday is also commemorating the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple by the enemy during the reign of King Herod. When he destroyed the Temple, the Holy Temple was replaced by a rebuilt building.
Yom Kippur, which is observed from sundown Sunday to sundown Monday. It is considered the holiest day of the year in Judaism. It is a high holiday that follows Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish New Year.
But it is not exactly a “happy” holiday. So don’t tell someone “Happy Yom Kippur.”
“This is not a day of loud and harsh raucous laughter and partying,” says Becky Sobelman-Stern. The chief program officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “Yom Kippur is not about being happy. But it is about thinking. It is about self-examination.”
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Since the rebuilding of the Temple, many ancient customs and traditions relating to the Holy Temple have been forgotten. On the first day of the new year, on the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple, people throughout the world fasted and observed a fast. They said prayers for the safety of King Herod and the Jewish nation. In ancient times, the Temple was very closely connected to the land of Israel. During Yom Kippur, many Jewish families in Israel celebrate the day as Yom Kippur Elul, the Jewish public holiday of Elul, or the cleansing of the temple.
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The Fast – One of the most important elements of the Yom Kippur tradition is the fast. The fast lasts for ten whole days. During the fasting, people refrain from food like cakes and cookies. Furthermore, they are not allowed to drink any water that has been mentioned by God in Numbers 10:4. It is the responsibility of the person observing the fast to observe prayers and to read the Book of Ruth.
“G’mar Chatima Tova” is the customary greeting on Yom Kippur. In the English language, it means “May one be sealed in the Book of Life.”
According to Jewish tradition, one’s power beyond human control is decided on Rosh Hashanah. It is sealed on Yom Kippur.
“Our lives are in the balance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Depending on how we act.” Says Rabbi Andrea London of Beth Emet synagogue in Evanston, Illinois.
“The fully righteous are marked with characters. In the Book of Life for the year. The entirely evil is not inscribed. The rest of us need to work to make it more accurate. Make sure we have more good works than bad. If we want to be sealed for another year of life.” She adds.
Rabbi Sarah Krinsky of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC, says “Not many moderns hold this literal theology.” She is among them. But that does not stop her from sending the message. “G’mar Chatima Tova” for Yom Kippur.
Of note: The “ch” sound in “Chatima” is not pronounced like the English word “chat.” Unless it should sound more like a harsh-sounding utterance from the throat. Like a backward snore. Because it comes from the Hebrew letter Chet. “G’mar Hatima Tov” is also acceptable to say.
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The Anointing – On the tenth day of Yom Kippur, after the nightly reading of the Book of Ruth, a chair called the anointing seat is used. This chair is usually placed by the front door of the home where the Jewish rabbi is seated. After prayer, it is raised up to reveal a hole with a brass ring at its bottom. This ring is called the atonement and it is considered extremely important in the spiritual ritual of the Jewish religion.
“Remember an alternate name for Yom Kippur is Yom Ha-Din…the Day of Judgment. This night is meant to be a time for severity.” – Kol Nidre
“Yom Kippur is the idea that we get a second chance before God forgives us for the mistakes that we’ve made. And we all get a second chance in life.” – Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld
“Yom Kippur is the supreme day of forgiveness.” – Jonathan Sacks
“God has given us the choice between life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life!” – Rabbi Debra Orenstein
“Yom Kippur is Gods way of allowing us to “recalculate” the course of our lives.” – Shimon Apisdorf
“We have been functioning in the realm of belief that our prayers will lead to certain outcomes; that is, after all, the purpose of Yom Kippur.” – Maya Bernstein
“Yom Kippur is a day of reconciliation when Jews strive to make amends with people and to draw closer to God through prayer and fasting.” – Ariela Pelaia
“The entire world is God’s message of love to us. Yom Kippur is the time when we are most open to receiving this message.” – Rabbi Noah Weinberg
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The Holy Atonement – The anointing chair is not only used during the Yom Kippurari; it also occurs on the anniversary of the Passover. This is considered as an important religious holiday for the Jews all over the world. The anointing chair symbolizes the fact that the sacrifice made by their ancestors at the Passover is still important to them today.