September 17, 2010, - 4:01 pm
Tonight, the Jewish fast day of Yom Kippur begins (and ends on Saturday Night). It’s a day of atonement for our sins and a day full of prayer to G-d*, asking for forgiveness and a good year. (I’ll try to post my movie reviews before it starts, so stay tuned.)
Israeli Soldiers & Other Jews Praying @ Israel’s Kotel (Western Wall)
Yom Kippur is one of the holiest Jewish holidays, at the end of which we believe our fate for the next year is “sealed” by G-d. We believe that on Rosh HaShanah, that fate is written by Him, and on Yom Kippur, he issues his final Judgment. This is Judgment Day.
On Yom Kippur, we fast and pray for about 25 hours to ask G-d for a good year. Before the fast, we eat a big, sumptuous meal, which expands the stomach and makes the fast more difficult. During the holiday, there are strict prohibitions: no food, drink, shower, TV/radio, phone, etc. the whole day, which is mostly spent at synagogue. The idea is that you are removing yourself from worldly concerns and focusing on spiritual ones, most importantly repentance for your sins. We also don’t wear leather shoes, as back in the day, those were a luxury of the wealthy, and the holiday is not about ostentatious displays, but about humble requests before G-d.
It starts just before sundown, tonight, and ends after dark tomorrow (Saturday) night, with one sound of the shofar (ram’s horn–see explanation of shofar here).
To my Jewish friends and readers, have an easy fast and a great year. Gmar Chatimah Tovah [May you be finally sealed for good.]
To everyone, see you very, very soon. And thank you for your continued patronage of this site. I very much appreciate my readers, their continued support of this site, and, of course, their tips and comments always. And, among other things, I will pray for that to continue and increase in the coming year.
Thanks to the many readers who sent me i- and e-cards wishing me an easy fast and a good year. Right back at ya!
* Religious Jews use dashes in the word “G-d” and do not write it out completely out of respect for Him and the wish not to write the name in vain.
Tags: Atonement, fast, Jewish Holidays, Yom Kippur