Cultivate a deep feeling of appreciation for the fact that you are alive. The Jewish practice of saying the "Modeh Ani" prayer the first moment we are awake, strengthens our awareness of the great gift of life.
Try saying the "Modeh Ani" prayer: "I express my gratitude to You, the King who is alive and always exists, for returning my soul to me, with compassion. Great is Your trustworthiness."
I spent yesterday (Monday) in one of the four holy cities of Israel, Hebron. This was a quick unplanned trip and I saw many new things that I had not seen before, even though it was probably my 100th trip to Hebron over the years. It is so close that is almost a suburb of Jerusalem. Hebron is the associated with the element of Earth, Jerusalem with the element of fire, Tiberius with water and Safed with Air. I am so fortunate and try to practice what I preach with my appreciation for my being free and living in Israel. I went with Rabbi Yishai Fleisher a local radio personality who is also active on temple mount issues.
May you have a meaningful fast and I wish peace and love for the world.
Love Yehuda Lave
Biggest EVER recorded: Super Typhoon Chaba with catacylsmic 233mph gales to SMASH Japan
A look back at some significant events over the past year through the words of Unetaneh Tokef. Unetaneh Tokef is a 1000 year old Jewish prayer which assesses the power of the world. This prayer most importantly calls for us to recognise how fragile our lives are.
Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley together!!
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John 35 years later! but this was 7 years ago
Yom means "day" in Hebrew and Kippur comes from a root that means "to atone", which is related to the biblical name of the covering of the Ark (called the kapporet). Yom Kippur is usually expressed in English as "Day of Atonement".
Yom Kippur is "the tenth day of [the] seventh month" (Tishrei) and is regarded as the "Sabbath of Sabbaths". Rosh Hashanah(referred to in the Torah as Yom Teruah) is the first day of that month according to the Hebrew calendar. On this day forgiveness of sins is also asked of God.
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 theKohen Gadol (high priest) in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
As one of the most culturally significant Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur is observed by many secular Jews who may not observe other holidays. Many secular Jews attend synagogue on Yom Kippur—for many secular Jews the High Holy Days are the only times of the year during which they attend synagogue—causing synagogue attendance to soar.
Leviticus 16:29 mandates establishment of this holy day on the 10th day of the 7th month as the day of atonement for sins. It calls it the Sabbath of Sabbaths and a day upon which one must afflict one's soul.
A parallel has been drawn between these activities and the human condition according to the Biblical account of the expulsion from the garden of Eden. Refraining from these symbolically represents a return to a pristine state, which is the theme of the day. By refraining from these activities, the body is uncomfortable but can still survive. The soul is considered to be the life force in a body. Therefore, by making one's body uncomfortable, one's soul is uncomfortable. By feeling pain one can feel how others feel when they are in pain. This is the purpose of the prohibitions.
Total abstention from food and drink as well as keeping the other traditions begins at sundown, and ends after nightfall the following day. One should add a few minutes to the beginning and end of the day, called tosefet Yom Kippur, lit. "addition to Yom Kippur". Although the fast is required of all healthy men over 13 or women over 12, it is waived in the case of certain medical conditions.
Virtually all Jewish holidays involve meals, but since Yom Kippur involves fasting, Jewish law requires one to eat a large and festive meal on the afternoon before Yom Kippur, after the Mincha (afternoon) prayer.
Wearing white clothing (or a kittel for Ashkenazi Jews), is traditional to symbolize one's purity on this day. Many Orthodox men immerse themselves in a mikveh on the day before Yom Kippur.
Before sunset on Yom Kippur eve, worshipers gather in the synagogue. The Ark is opened and two people take from it two Sifrei Torah (Torah scrolls). Then they take their places, one on each side of the Hazzan, and the three recite (in Hebrew):
In the tribunal of Heaven and the tribunal of earth, we hold it lawful to pray with transgressors.
The cantor then chants the Kol Nidre prayer (Aramaic: כל נדרי). This prayer is recited in Aramaic. Its name "Kol Nidre" is taken from the opening words, and translates "All vows":
All personal vows we are likely to make, all personal oaths and pledges we are likely to take between this Yom Kippur and the next Yom Kippur, we publicly renounce. Let them all be relinquished and abandoned, null and void, neither firm nor established. Let our personal vows, pledges and oaths be considered neither vows nor pledges nor oaths."
The leader and the congregation then say together three times "May all the people of Israel be forgiven, including all the strangers who live in their midst, for all the people are in fault." The Torah scrolls are then placed back into the Ark, and the Yom Kippur evening service begins.
Some married Ashkenazi Orthodox men wear a kittel, a white robe-like garment for evening prayers on Yom Kippur, otherwise used by males on their wedding day. They also wear a tallit (prayer shawl), which is typically worn only during morning services.
Prayer services begin with the Kol Nidrei prayer, which is recited before sunset. Kol Nidre is a prayer that dates back to 9th century Palestine. It is recited in a dramatic manner, before the open ark, using a melody that dates back to the 16th century. Then the service continues with the evening prayers (Ma'ariv or Arvit) and an extended Selichotservice.
The morning prayer service is preceded by litanies and petitions of forgiveness called selichot; on Yom Kippur, many selichot are woven into the liturgy of the mahzor (prayer book). The morning prayers are followed by an added prayer (Mussaf) as on all other holidays. This is followed by Mincha (the afternoon prayer) which includes a reading (Haftarah) of the entire Book of Jonah, which has as its theme the story of God's willingness to forgive those who repent.
The service concludes with the Ne'ila ("closing") prayer, which begins shortly before sunset, when the "gates of prayer" will be closed. Yom Kippur comes to an end with a recitation of Shema Yisrael and the blowing of the shofar, which marks the conclusion of the fast.