Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yom Kippur

Yom Tov (Good Day)

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, the Highest Holy Day of two Jewish High Holy Days, the first High Holy Day being Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur falls ten days after Rosh Hashanah on the 10th of Tishrei (September-October) and begins at sunset today.

I know...what about Pesach and other feasts? Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are considered High Holy Days because they are strictly religious and not associated with other earthly events such as Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost).

The purpose of Yom Kippur is to bring about reconciliation between us and between individuals and G-d. According to Jewish tradition, it is also the day when God decides the fate of each human being. This is important to remember for our next blog entry.

Although Yom Kippur is an intensely holy and solemn day, it is viewed as a day of rejoicing, a day where we are reconciled to our enemies and G-d. If we have observed Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, (Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur) properly, we will have made peace with others and with God by the end of Yom Kippur.

The three essential components of Yom Kippur are:

Teshuvah (Repentance and forgiveness of our sins)
Tefilah (Prayer, specifically for ourselves, friends and enemies)
Ta'anit (Fasting, in order to purify ourselves)

It is a day that we rededicate our lives to G-d. Some say that we should do this everyday. True. However, how many of us do? Unfortunately, too many of us get bogged down in our day to day and forget the reason why we are here. Therefore, if you are one of us that need that yearly reminder, then use Yom Kippur as that day of reflection. The day to realign yourself with G-d. However, it's not beyond our capababilty to make everyday Yom Kippur.

Gemar Chatimah Tovah.(May your final sealing in the Book of Life be good)

Shabbat Shalom (Sabbath Peace)

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