Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

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Yom Kippur is one of the most important holidays in The services end with the blowing of the Tekiah
Judaism. gedolah on the Shofar. The concluding service of Yom Kippur is unique to the
Many Jews who don't observe any other Jewish day, and is known as Ne'ilah. It runs for roughly one
custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attaint It is customary to wear white on this holiday, which hour, and the ark is kept open throughout the service,
synagogue services on this day. symbolizes purity and call to the mind the promise that making the Jews stand for the whole service.
Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day on Tishri and is their sins shall be `made as white as snow.' There is a tone of desperation in the prayers of this
mentioned in Leviticus 23:26. Some people wear a kittel, the write robe in which the service, and is sometimes referred to as the last
Yom Kippur means `Day of Atonement' and is a day set dead are buried in. chance to get in a good world before the holiday ends.
aside to `afflict the soul' to atone for the sins committed The service ends with the blowing of the Shofar.
in the past year. Yom Kippur Liturgy (order of service):
This day is the last appeal for Jews to repent and make The liturgy for this holiday is more extensive than any The Significance:
amend to change the judgement in the Book of Life. other day of the year, and are so far-reaching that a The holiest day of the Jewish year, this is shown by the
special prayer book is needed, the Machzor. blowing of the Shofar and the large attendance at the
What Happens on Yom Kippur: synagogue.
The Kaparot, a special prayer, is said on the eve of The evening service that begins Yom Kippur is The aim is to make atonement with G-d, putting the
Yom Kippur and than donations are given to charity. commonly known as Kol Nidrei, named after the prayer record straight. A theme of repentance and confession.
It was part of the custom to drive a goat into the that begins the service, `Kol nidrei' which means `all The relationship with G-d is foremost of the mind and
wilderness, so they now give to the poor. vows'. shows the willingness of G-d to forgive.
This day only atones for the sins against man and G-d, In this prayer Jews ask G-d to annul all personal vows The Day of Judgment is final.
not for sins against other people. The Jews must they make within the next year. It only refers to the
reconciliation that person, and right the wrongs that vows made between the Jew and G-d. Different types of sin:
they have committed against them if possible. Reform Jews removed it from the liturgy when gentiles - Het missing the mark, not a deliberate sin
This must be done before Yom Kippur. saw this as making the Jews untrustworthy. However,
Reform Jews restored the prayer in recognition of its - Aberah transgression, disobeying a
Yom Kippur is a complete Shabbat, no work may be history by giving comfort to those who were forced to command. A deliberate break of the covenant.
performed on this day, and Jews are also expected to convert to Christianity by torture but were unable to
refrain from eating and drinking. Therefore, it is a break their vow. Jews take their vows very seriously,
complete 25 hour fast. and will consider themselves bound, even if they are
The Talmud specifies additional restrictions that are made in times of stress when they are not thinking
less well known, such as washing and bathing, wearing straight.
leather shoes and anointing the body with lotions or
cosmetics. Jews must also refrain from sexual There are two parts of this prayer, the Ashamnu and
engagement on Yom Kippur. the Al Cheit. The Ashamnu is a short, general lift of
sins, such as aggressiveness and treasonable, and the
Restrictions: Al Cheit is a more specific list, for the sin we sinned
As on Shabbat and other festivals, these restrictions before you forcibly or willingly...
can be lifted if a life is in danger. There is a catch all confession:
Children under the age of 9, and women, who are `Forgive us the breach of positive comments and
current in labour or three days after the birth of their negative comments, whether or not they involve an act,
child, are not permitted to fast, even if they wish to do whether or not they are known to us.'
Older children and women who gave birth 7 days ago The confession of the sins of the community is the
are permitted to fast, and to break the fast if they feel most important addition, and is included in the Amidah
the need to do so. prayer.
All sins are confessed in plural, emphasizing the
Most of the holiday is spent in the synagogue, in communal responsibility for sins.
In Orthodox synagogues, services begin early in the The vast majority of the sins specified include the
morning and continue to around 3 in the afternoon. mistreatment of other people, mostly by speech such
Jews will than go home for an afternoon nap and return as swearing, offensive language and tale bearing. This
to the synagogue at 5 for the afternoon and evening all fall under one category, the lashon ha-ra which
services which continue until nightfall. mean `evil tongue'. This is considered very serious in


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