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Yom Kippur – Jewish Hunger Games

by Christa on September 13, 2013

in Daily Digest,Holidays Happen

As I mentioned 10 days ago, Yom Kippur is now upon us.

What is Yom Kippur?

Simply put, it’s the Day of Atonement – a chance to wipe clean the wrongdoings of the past year. It’s the most holy day in Judaism, the day you ask for forgiveness from God AND from your fellow man. Literally. You are supposed to ask for forgiveness for wronging people. And if someone asks you for forgiveness, you are to grant it. The concept of “sin” is quite complex in Judaism – read about it here, as it’s way too much for me to even get into!

Yom Kippur is also the day that the Book of Life is sealed – your fate is inscribed for the coming year until the book is reopened on Rosh Hashanah.

If you have Jewish friends, don’t say, “Happy Yom Kippur!” – it’s a solemn holiday, not a celebration. The standard holiday greeting is “G’mar chatima tovah” – may you be written for a good year. Or you can say, “Have an easy fast.” Oh yeah, that’s the other part. There is a 24-hour fast from sundown to sundown.

Marisa found this funny clip on YouTube today – Jewish Hunger Games!!

That’s what it feels like. Nah, it’s not so bad. I am not fasting this year due to the pregnancy. While the rules are a little fuzzy, and I’m pretty sure that the more religious women with a healthy pregnancy do fast, I just think it can’t be the best thing to do.

The traditional service on the sundown that begins Yom Kippur is Kol Nidre – all vows. It declares that all pledges made between each other and to G-d are now null and void, and are publicly renounced. The service is mostly about asking for forgiveness, as you can imagine. This is followed by the Ma’ariv prayer service (recitation of the Shema and Avidah) and S’lichot – prayers that are said on fasting holidays asking for forgiveness (“s’licha” is “I’m sorry” in Hebrew). This is extremely condensed and I’m sure there are people much more knowledgable than I on high holiday prayers, but just for those of you curious, that was a brief overview :)

So tonight, we head to Kol Nidre.

G’mar chatima tovah.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Whitney September 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I absolutely love learning about Judaism! For some reason in high school people thought I was Jewish… not sure why! lol

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Christa September 16, 2013 at 7:30 am

That’s cool!! I love learning about religions too. Funny – I wonder why!

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