Yom Kippur is here! G’mar Chatima Tova. “A Good Final Sealing”! Also, known as the Day of Atonement, it is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. The “Days Of Awe” completing the Jewish Feasts period.
It’s central themes are atonement and repentance. “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.” Lev 16:30
A day that takes us back, to go into our future. Where our future is literally placed back into our hands again, as God allows us Repentance from past failures. A clean slate, so to speak.
We “Seal Our Own Fate” by leaving dead works behind to attain the “Seal Of God’s Approval” to serve him in living faith ahead.
And, He indues us with Godly Sorrow to bring forth fruits worthy of that resolve. Proved by the new life we live going forward. A Jonah like rebirth after his term in the belly of the great fish, hence the book of Jonah is read on this occasion.
Jews traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services, sometimes five in one day.
“In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:” Lev 16:29
Yom Kippur Atonement is for personal and national sins, the fate of each person is sealed for the upcoming year as they ask forgiveness for past vows unfulfilled and resolve to do good deeds in the future.
They pray the Sheva Seven of Jewish national prayers: 1)The Son Of David Come. 2)The Kingdom Of David Revived. 3)The Borders Of David Return. 4)All Jewish People Observe A Yom Kippur Repentance. 5)The Diaspora Will Fully Return To Israel. 6)All Observe The Sabbath Rest. 7)Final Peace Come Thru The Prince Of Peace.
On this day also it is said that the “Heavenly Books” are opened. According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to “seal” the verdict.
During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend their behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero).
The day of Yom Kippur is set aside for public/private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven. And, “Mercy Rejoices Over Judgement”.
The whole system of offerings and services involved in this great day of turning to God is rich with meaningful traditions. The Kol Nidrei Vows, The Shema Israel, Avinu Malkeinu-Our Father Our King, Viduy Confession, Neilah 5 Prayers, The Aron HaKodesh (Holy Ark Containing Torah scrolls), Selichot Prayers of Repentance, then the Shofar is sounded with one great and mighty long blast and the services conclude with the exclamations of Shema Yisrael – Hear O Israel and Next Year In Jerusalem – LeShana Haba B’Yerushalayim…
Finally, the release of the Kapporah offering. The scapegoat who takes our sins, placed on another of like flesh. While the other is set free with a new chance for a better tomorrow. So let us live that life fully.
G’mar Chatima Tova. “A Good Final Sealing” on this Yom Kippur!
God’s Best Always, Rabbi David J Sagil