Yom Kippur Day 2017 is on Wednesday, September 13, 2017: What is Yom Kippur?
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 is Yom Kippur Day 2017. Yom Kippur (What it should mean to Christians) yomkippur. Matthew 25:35-40
Yom Kippur is the Jewsih day of atonement which is in fact the most important day of the whole year for the Jewish people. It falls 10 days after the Jewish new year which is usually in October on the regular calendar (We hold by the Jewish calendar). On this day all Jewish people go to Synagogue to pray for forgiveness from all their sins and ask for a good year to come. Yom Kippur starts at sunset on the previous day and ends an hour after sunset on the actual day. We fast the whole time during Yom Kippur and we wear white clothes as we are likened to angels on this day.
What/who is Yom Kippur?
Yom Kippur is the day of atonement. On that day G-d seals one's fate for the next year. Jewish people ask G-d to forgive them for any sins they have committed during the year. We accept responsibility not only for our own sins, but for sins committed by the community. We also accept responsibility for not persuading our neighbor to stop sinning, if we know he has done wrong. The theme of the day is "return", to return to a right way of living. We know we will make mistakes, but we will try to improve.
If we have wronged another person, we must first go to that person and ask for forgiveness and try to make restitution, before asking G-d to forgive us. We promise to forgive those who have wronged us. The whole idea is that we must take stock of ourselves, resolve to do better (and really mean it!), and also realize that even if we sin again, there is always the chance to change.
Oh, when the Jewish people had our Temple in Jerusalem, we would make sacrifices on Yom Kippur for the known nations of the world. We asked G-d to forgive them too, so that they would not be punished.
How do you observe Yom Kippur?
Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, is observed as follows:
1. See the Light
We usher in this holy day with added light. Just before sunset on the eve of Yom Kippur people who have experienced the loss of a parent light yahrtzeit candles; everyone lights a Neshamah (Soul) Candle (1) ; and women light Holiday candles (with a special blessing).
2. Be an Angel
On Yom Kippur we are commanded to "afflict yourselves" (2). This is understood to mean we should refrain from animalistic/humanistic pleasures, and instead focus on humanistic/angelic behaviors. We do the things that make us like angels the most and like animals the least. That’s why we refrain from eating, drinking, bathing, wearing leather shoes (3), applying creams, perfume or colognes, and marital relations.
Going with the angelic flow we adorn ourselves in white on this day. The Tallit is worn during all prayer services (4), and many have a custom to wear a kittel as well.
3. Go Fast
That’s right. Don’t eat or drink. Not even a sip of water. See Why do we fast on Yom Kippur? for more.
4. Get Spiritual
One of the reasons Yom Kippur is so spiritual is that when you spend a whole day doing spiritual things, of course that day is going to be spiritual. Of course, the day is spiritual already, and our prayer merely expresses that pre-existing condition, but on Yom Kippur, you spend over 24 hours in spiritual steam cleaning—really working on your character qualities and defects to make yourself a better person to G-d and to your fellow humans. This is the essence of Teshuvah, and teshuvah is the essence of Yom Kippur.
Practically speaking, Yom Kippur consists of five services, one at night and four by day: Kol Nidrei/Maariv, Shacharit, Musaf, Minchah, and Ne'ilah (pronounced neh-EE-lah), conducted at twilight. The night service lasts about two hours, while the day services last almost all day. Yizkor services are recited during the morning prayer services, and the Torah is read during the morning and afternoon services.
Rabbis give numerous sermons during this day, and are most likely to make an appeal. Charity is a key ingredient in transforming the physical into the spiritual, and although it may not be given in cash, it may be given in pledges.
1. The soul is known as the candle of G-d as King Solomon writes (Proverbs 20:27) "The candle of G-d is the soul of man". On this holy day when our souls are accentuated, we light a candle. One lights a 24 hour "Yahrtzeit candle" although it is not for the purpose of a Yahrtzeit.
2. Leviticus 23:27
3. The prohibition applies solely to leather shoes. Other leather, such as a belt, is permitted.
4. Whereas ordinarily it is only worn for morning services