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What is Yom Kippur?

Yom kippur is a day of repentance in the Jewish holidays, where a person seeks forgiveness for sins against God.
Jews observe Yom Kippur by refraining from eating, bathing, and marital relations from sunrise to sunset the next day.
During Yom Kippur, the ark which holds the Torah remains open to symbolize the gates of heaven being open.
Some Jews spent much of the day of Yom Kippur in services at their local synagogue.
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  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2014
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Yom Kippur is the day of repentance in the Jewish holidays. It is held ten days after the beginning of the Jewish new year on Rosh Hashanah, and marks the end of a forty day period called Elul which are also considered the forty days of repentance.

Yom Kippur allows for no work, and much of the day spent attending temple. Many Jews also practice a ritual fasting for the day, which ends at sunset. This is essentially the last day in which to ask God’s pardon for sins against him.

In the days prior to Yom Kippur, people may ask pardon of others against whom they may have sinned. This is essential because many believe that God does not forgive sins committed against others, but does forgive sins against himself. Thus the person attending Yom Kippur must reflect on personal sins against God and ask forgiveness.

This is unlike the solitary Catholic form of confession, as sins against God are asked to be forgiven in a group during the Yom Kippur service. In a way it recognizes that all are sinners and all state “We have sinned,” together.

Other aspects of the Yom Kippur service include the cantor of the temple singing the Kol Nidre three times. The prayer includes the statement that all in the temple have repented of vows, especially any lies, and are thus forgiven.

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Following the sung Kol Nidre, Jews together make their confession. This is followed by a last hour in the temple called Neilah. This is essentially the last time prior to the next beginning of Elul for Jews to consider their sins against God and ask forgiveness.

During the Temple service of Rosh Hashanah, the ark, which holds the Torah, remains open. This is symbolic of the gates of heaven being open throughout the service. Thus all prayers and supplications are heard in heaven and forgiveness can be granted.

The Yom Kippur service comes to an end with the statement by all: “Next year, in Jerusalem.” Jerusalem represents the place of peace, where souls are at rest. It also refers to the time when Jews were slaves to the Egyptians. Thus the statement can be taken as a yearning for spiritual oneness, peace, and freedom.

Yom Kippur ends with this final statement. Jews who have made true atonement to God are considered now to have a clean slate for sins against God. Since the service is at night, one may eat after the service ends. However, no food can have been prepared on that day. It is acceptable to prepare food after the end of the service.

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anon46652
Post 3

Just a note: Christians do not ask God to forgive them for hurting others but rather we are told to go to the person who we offended and ask for their forgiveness and do the same as you described. We make restitution with that person for the offense we committed against them. I sometimes feel sad that as a Christian you seem to mean "Catholic". Not a Christian who believes in the G_D of Abraham. The G_D who gave Moses the Commandments and led his people out of Egypt. The G_D who spoke to the prophets of old and foretold of the events that are taking place today. The G_D I know is your G_D. I am not a Catholic. I am one who loves and worships the Ancient of Days spoken of in the book of Daniel. Your G_D. The only difference is I believe that Jesus is the Messiah the one spoken about in Isaiah 40. Isaiah 42. King David wrote of Jesus predicting his death in Psalm 22. Jesus quoted this Psalm while on the cross. His last words letting the Jewish leaders know he was the one David was speaking of when he wrote the Psalm. The Jews knew who he was. The first believers were all Jews. If my G-D said it I beleieve it. Jesus is the branch of David. He is and always will be the Messiah and all one has to do is read the Torah to see him. Christianity is not Catholic. I do not believe as them nor have I ever. I believe in the G_D of the Torah and this is why I long to understand his beautiful people and learn the proper way to worship him and honor him. In his word it states that he will unite his people -- Jews and Gentiles. We are adopted, grafted in the vine. We are adopted sons, by which we can cry out to G_D Abba Father! Thanks for the information. I have never ever written anything online before today. I was saddened by the misconception of how you say we are different in our faith and we are not. I am ignorant of a lot but I hunger and thirst to learn and to worship. The true believers will worship their G_D correctly because he will teach them so we are pleasing to him. That is why I study daily the prophets and the Psalms because it is G_D who teaches me. Thank you for the opportunity to share my feelings on this subject. I just wish people did not think of Christians as Catholic. We are not. I do not identify with the way they worship at all.

anon43464
Post 2

Your interpretation of about "In the days prior to Yom Kippur, people may ask pardon of others against whom they may have sinned. This is essential because many believe that God does not forgive sins committed against others, but does forgive sins against himself. Thus the person attending Yom Kippur must reflect on personal sins against God and ask forgiveness."

This is unlike the solitary Catholic form of confession, as sins against God are asked to be forgiven in a group during the Yom Kippur service. In a way it recognizes that all are sinners and all state “We have sinned,” together.", is totally off.

The comment "In a way it recognizes that all are sinners and all state “We have sinned,” together.", is a totally Christian concept, not a Jewish one. The word sin is not even said at all. The concept that "we are all sinners" is a 100 percent Christian concept as Jews believe the opposite.

Everything is about the individual. Asking for forgiveness to G_D, means we can be forgiven for things like "New Years resolutions", we made to G_D, promises of changes and deeds to G_D, that weren't fulfilled.

However, we don't *ask* to be pardoned/forgiven for harm done to others. We ask those we have harmed is there is anything we can do to be forgiven for the harm we caused. We are humbly asking what we can do, *then we do it*, as defined by the person we harmed. It could be that the other person might just let it go, but they might ask for monetary concession, maybe cutting their grass for a year, etc.

In a way, the concepts are more closely related to the AA 12 steps, with Step 7 and 8.

Just like in AA, by doing this, justice has been done, the community is stronger, and the individual is left, with their "garbage" not tormenting them anymore, as it will be in the past.

The Rabbi has no sacred power or special link to G_D more than anyone else. But by going directly to the individuals we might have harmed, we are taking responsibility for our actions and it is G_D's children, the community of Man (which includes animals as well), who can grant us forgiveness only for our negative actions against others.

Like in AA, confession is not enough. By doing this good work, we are making the world better, learning and leaving the mistakes in the past, *yet*, we are making retribution as defined by G_D's creations.

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