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DescriptionYom Kippur ESSAY
Yom Kippur, also known as the “Day of Atonement.” This is holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jewish people. It is a day set aside to atone for the sins of the past year. This atonement is only for the sins between man and God, not for the sins against another person (Jewish virtual library, 2011). This will be an examination of the time of year it occurs, the historic origin of this holy day, what practices are associated with the day, and the theological or cultural differences that may lead to differences in the observance of Yom Kippur by the various branches of Judaism.
“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work-whether native born or a foreigner residing among you-because on this day atonement will be for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins” (Leviticus 16:29-30, New International Version NIV). Yom Kippur is observed on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishri. This is nine days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year. The historic origin of this holy day dates back to the time of Moses. The Lord commanded the “Day of Atonement” as a solemn annual observance of the Israelites past and future (Blank, 2011).
The practices associated with Yom Kippur are as follows: Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath; no work can be performed on this day. There is no eating or drinking, even the drinking of water is also prohibited. Additional and less known restrictions include a complete and total abstinence of the following: lotions or perfumes, bathing and washing. The wearing of leather shoes and sexual relations are also not allowed (History of Yom Kippur, 2011). The fast is for a period of 25 hours. Fasting begins before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur, and it ends after nightfall the day of Yom Kippur. The liturgy or rituals for this day are more extensive than any other day of year. Yom Kippur begins with an evening service immediately prior to sunset, this is because in Jewish tradition the day begins at sundown. This evening service is commonly known as Kol Nidre, meaning “all vows.” The daytime service consists of several rituals with an emphasis on two major themes, forgiveness and repentance. The final service of Yom Kippur is called the Neilah. Neilah literally means “closing” and refers to the symbolic closing of the gates of heaven. The service builds in intensity until it ...
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