Yom Kippur is one of the most significant Jewish Holidays. It is also known as the “Day of Atonement” and is considered to be one of the holiest days of the year. This holy day is observed with a 25-hour fasting period which begins before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and concluding after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur.
History and Meaning of Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur in Hebrew literally means “Day of Atonement” and occurs on the tenth day of Tishri. This holiday is established in Leviticus 23:26. It is a day set aside to repent for the sins of the past year. The period of time preceding Yom Kippur is referred to in Judaism as the High Holy Days and is also referred to as the “Days of Awe.” During the “Days of Awe”, a Jew must seek to amend their behavior and ask for forgiveness for his or her wrongdoings. According to Jewish tradition, Yom Kippur is the last opportunity to atone for sins of the previous year before judgement from God is entered upon them. At the conclusion of Yom Kippur, their “judgement” or verdict from God is sealed.
How is Yom Kippur Observed
The day is set aside for fasting, prayer and repentance. No work is to be done on this day. No food or water is to be consumed. There are also additional customs that are traditionally observed. These include no wearing of leather shoes, no bathing or washing, no use of cosmetics, perfumes, deodorants and no sexual relations. For most Jews, the majority of Yom Kippur is spent in a synagogue. It is also customary to wear white as a symbol of purity.
Yom Kippur is considered to be a legal holiday in Israel and is observed by all businesses being closed, no radio or television broadcasts allowed and the airport and other forms of public transportation are not in use. While not against the law, driving a private motor vehicle on Yom Kippur is discouraged unless it is an emergency situation.
One of the big differences is the amount of prayer services that are held on this day. A regular day would consist of three prayer services – a prayer for the morning, afternoon and evening. During Yom Kippur however, there are five prayer services. The prayer services also include a public confession of sins.
Dates of Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur starts at sundown on the day preceding the date shown.
2010 – September 18, 2010
2011 – October 8, 2011
2012 – September 26, 2012
Yom Kippur Religion Facts, Religion Facts
Yom Kippur, Wikipedia.com
Judaism 101: Yom Kippur, jewfaq.org
Yom Kippur, e-bski.org