Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur

L'Shana Tova!

Yom Kippur is the holiest day in Jewish calendar.  Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews observe this day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the High Holy Days. 

According to the Talmud, the celebration of Yom Kippur can atone only for sins between man and God. To atone for sins against another person, you must speak with that person and seek a reconciliation. At the very least, you must apologize for your actions and if possible, right whatever wrong you committed against them. This must be accomplished during the Days of Awe, prior to the onset of Yom Kippur.

The Jews believe that God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to “seal” the verdict.

The Yom Kippur prayer service includes several unique aspects. One is the actual number of prayer services. Unlike on a regular day, Yom Kippur has five prayer services - Ma’ariv, Shacharit, Musaf, Mincha and Ne’ilah. The prayer services also include a public confession of sins (Vidui) and a unique prayer dedicated to the special Yom Kippur avodah (service) of the Kohen Gadol in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Image and text source here

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