September 26, 2012 1 Comment
Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the year for Jews.
Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora’im (“Days of Awe”).
Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei. 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 his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven by God.
The Yom Kippur prayer service includes several unique aspects. One is the actual number of prayer services. Unlike a regular day, which has three prayer services (Ma’ariv, the evening prayer; Shacharit, the morning prayer; and Mincha, the afternoon prayer), or a Shabbat or Yom Tov, which have four prayer services (Ma’ariv; Shacharit; Mussaf, the additional prayer; and Mincha), Yom Kippur has five prayer services (Ma’ariv; Shacharit; Musaf; Mincha; and Ne’ilah, the closing prayer). The prayer services also include private and public confessions of sins (Vidui) and a unique prayer dedicated to the special Yom Kippur avodah (service) of the Kohen Gadol in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem…
Haaretz reports from Israel:
Israel came to a virtual standstill at sundown Tuesday as Jews began observing the start of the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, the 25 hours of fasting and contemplation known as Yom Kippur.
Israel’s security establishment and emergency services have been put on high alert Tuesday ahead of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
The IDF and Israel Police beefed up patrols in cities, and around synagogues, and officers were also stationed at the entrances to towns. A comprehensive closure of West Bank border crossings went into effect on Monday night, and will continue until midnight on Wednesday. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that individuals will be allowed to cross in cases of extreme medical or humanitarian emergency, subject to the approval of the Civil Administration. Magen David Adom has reinforced its stations throughout the country with extra personnel on Yom Kippur in order to provide rapid medical care for cyclists and those fasting, should the need arise. The fast began in Tel Aviv at 5:11 P.M., and will end at 6:09 P.M. on Wednesday. In Jerusalem, the fast began at 4:56 P.M., and will end at 6:07 P.M. on Wednesday. In Be’er Sheva, fasting began at 5:14 P.M., and will end at 6:09 P.M. In Haifa, the fast began at 5:02 P.M, and will end at 6:08 P.M. As the fast began, synagogues throughout Israel opened their doors for “Kol Nidrei” prayers.