What is Yom Kippur and why is it such an important day?

YOM KIPPUR is a Jewish holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement, this year it will begin on the evening of Sunday, September, 27, and end on Monday, September 28. But what is Yom Kippur and why is it such an important day?

Some Jews prefer not to write the word God. They use G-d instead as a sign of respect. Which you will notice I have done to honour their values on this religious day throughout this article.

When written in Hebrew, G-d’s name can never be erased or destroyed. The Hebrew letters of the name for G-d are YHWH, and this is never said out loud by Jews.

Yom Kippur is an important day, observed with a day of fasting, repentance, and worship, considered as the holiest day in Judaism.

Also known as the Day of Atonement, it is a day when Jewish communities around the world reflect on the past year and ask G-d’s forgiveness for any sins they have committed.

But how is it celebrated? And where does it come from? Here’s what you need to know.

When is Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur falls on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei (September or October in the Gregorian calendar).

It marks the culmination of the Days of Repentance or Days of Awe, a 10-day period of reflection that follows Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

This year Yom Kippur will begin on the evening of Sunday 27 September and end on Monday 28 September.

What is the significance of Yom Kippur?

The origins of Yom Kippur trace back to the story of Moses, after the people of Israel made their exodus from Egypt.

After Moses climbed Mount Sinai, G-d gave him two tablets containing the Ten Commandments. The first commandment told people that they should not worship anyone other than G-d.

However, when he descended from the mountain, Moses caught the Israelites worshipping a golden calf and shattered the holy tablets in anger.

The Israelites atoned for their idolatry and G-d forgave them on the 10th day of Tishrei, which then became known as Yom Kippur.

How is Yom Kippur celebrated?

Millions of Jewish families around the world mark the important day of Yom Kippur by fasting for 25 hours.

Anyone who must eat due to health reasons will not be required to fast. Children under the age of nine are also exempt.

Most of the day is spent at the synagogue, where five prayer services are held (instead of the traditional two). These are known as Maariv, Shacharit, Musaf, Mincha, and Neilah.

Maariv includes the recital of a prayer service called Kol Nidre, which takes place on the eve of the holiday. Kol Nidre is more than a technical vow-annulment procedure. Rather, by releasing our vows we are asking G-d to reciprocate in kind. In the event that He has pledged not to bring the redemption just yet, in the event that He made an oath to bring harsh judgments on His people in the following year, we ask that He release these vows and instead grant us a year of happiness and redemption Yom Kippur concludes with the Neilah service and the blowing of the shofar, an ancient instrument, which marks the conclusion of the fast. After the service, people usually break the fast and celebrate with a family meal.

It is customary to wear white, as a symbol of purity during the day. As a way to atone and seek G-d’s forgiveness, some Jews make donations or volunteer their time to charity in the days leading up to the holiday.

We hope you enjoyed this article “What is Yom Kippur and why is it such an important day?”.

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Written by

Charlie Loran

Manchester born mummy with a two year old diva (2020), living on the Costa del Sol for just short of a decade.
Former chef and restaurateur, holistic health fanatic and lover of long words.

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