What is Yom Kippur?
Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement. It is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. The ten days between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur are called the “Ten Days of Repentence” or the “Ten Days of Awe”. During this time, the Jewish people take the time repent, to make up for the wrongs they have done in the past year and ask for forgiveness from God.
Yom Kippur fall on the eve of tenth day of Tishrei. The fasting begins on this day too. It is a very long fast of no eating or drinking for 25 hours.
Restrictions that are observed on Yom Kippur
- No washing and bathing
- No wearing leather shoes
As Yom Kippur is a Shabbat (Sabbath), it is a day of rest, just as God rested after creating the earth.
Most Jewish people will also wear white on Yom Kippur. It symbolizes purity. Some of the men put on a white robe with no pockets, called a kittel. Others put on a white yarmulke.
What are the three most important components of Yom Kippur?
- Repentence (Teshuva)
The Yom Kippur synagogue service starts from morning till nightfall. It starts with the Maariv (the evening service) and the prayer song called Kol Nidre (All Vows). This prayer asks God to forgive people from any vows made to God and not kept. It ends with Ne’ilah (shutting or closing of the gates of heaven) service.
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