Yom Kippur

Leviticus 16:1 And יהוה spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron when they offered sacrifices before יהוה and died; 2 And יהוה said to Moses, speak to Aaron your brother, so that he does not come at all times into the sacred place within the veil before the mercy seat which is upon the Ark, so that he should not die: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. C-MATS

Question: When was the first Yom Kippur? When Moses came back from Sinai with the Second Tablets of the Law. That day became ordained as Yom Kippur, the eternal day of forgiveness.

Question: Where did יהוה appear in the Sacred Place? יהוה’s glory was manifested in the cloud of glory that hovered over the Ark. After the Kohen Gadol entered the Sacred Place on Yom Kippur, he ignited incense to create a cloud, whereupon יהוה’s glory appeared upon the Cover.

Question: What is happening between Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur? The sages believe that  יהוה 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 believer tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against יהוה and against other human beings. The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt.  At the end of Yom Kippur, one considers oneself absolved by יהוה.

Question: How is Yom Kippur celebrated in Israel? Yom Kippur is a legal holiday in the modern state of Israel. There are no radio or television broadcasts, airports are shut down, there is no public transportation, and all shops and businesses are closed. In 1973, an air raid siren was sounded on the afternoon of Yom Kippur and radio broadcasts were resumed to alert the public to the surprise attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria that launched the Yom Kippur War. Most residents fast on Yom Kippur. This may be the reason that it is very common in Israel to wish “Tsom Kal” ([an] easy fast) or “Tsom Mo’iil” ([an] efficient fast) to everyone before Yom Kippur, even if one does not know whether they will fast or not. It is considered impolite to eat in public on Yom Kippur or to drive a motor vehicle. There is no legal prohibition on driving or eating in public but in practice such actions are frowned upon, except in emergency services.

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