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In addition to refraining from eating and drinking, observant Jews do not bathe on the holiday, they do not wear leather shoes or gold jewelry, and they do not engage in spousal intimacy.


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Services during Yom Kippur are held continuously through the day and include readings from the Torah and the reciting of prayers expressing regret or asking for forgiveness. Yom Kippur services conclude with closing prayers and the blowing of the shofar, a ritual musical instrument carved from the horn of a ram. How it began: According to Jewish tradition , the origins of Yom Kippur date back to the time of Moses, after the people of Israel made their exodus from Egypt.

There were also special table-hymns for the end of the Day Sefer Ravyah , no. Judah Halevi, Divan , ed. In the Pentateuch there is no reference to mourning practices on the Day of Atonement. On the other hand, the Book of Jubilees maintains that the Day of Atonement, the one day in the year when forgiveness is granted to all who repent fully Jub. For this reason one should always be sad on this day Jub. This conception of the Day of Atonement as a day of sadness is peculiar to the author of the Book of Jubilees and does not appear elsewhere in Judaism except among many Karaites who instituted mourning practices on the Day of Atonement.

In his opinion it is the greatest of the festivals as in it, being both a festival and a time of repentance and purification, true joy is to be found. In contrast to many other people, Philo maintained that true joy is not to be found in overeating and overdrinking, feasting and reveling, and dancing and music, which in reality only stir up man's lowest desires and lusts.

The Day of Atonement, on the contrary, is defined by abstinence and devotion to praying from morning to night. The purpose of the fast is to purify the heart of people who pray without being disturbed by corporal desires, and entreat their Maker's forgiveness for their past sins and His blessing for the future.

Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement

Philo testifies that all, not only those devoted to piety, but even those who are not distinguished at all on other days by the fear of heaven, fear the sanctity of the Day and observe it, evildoers standing together with the good in the struggle to subdue the evil inclination Philo, Spec. The sages too regarded the Day of Atonement as the supreme festival and the greatest day of the year Gen. A day of unparalleled joy, both for God, who gave it to Israel with love SER 1 , and for the children of Israel themselves SEZ 4 , the whole purpose of the Day of Atonement is to atone for those who repent and confess their iniquity.

Even one who was far from his home the rest of the year endeavored to return to his wife and family in order to spend the day and the meal of its eve together with them Ket. It was said that even if all the other festivals were to be abrogated, the Day of Atonement, on which the children of Israel resemble the angels, would remain ibid. Satan has no power to accuse the children of Israel on this Day Lev.

The assembly of Israel, sullied by sins during the whole year, is cleansed on the Day of Atonement Song R. The Day of Atonement is thus regarded not just as a duty but still more as a right; and side by side with the feeling of the great transcendent distance between the sinner and God there manifests itself in an emphatic fashion the conception of His immanent nearness to all His creatures "Thou dost reach out Thy hand to transgressors; Thy right hand is extended to receive repentant sinners".

During the Middle Ages, the character of the Day of Atonement as a joyful and a festive day did not change, but emphasis was also put upon its character as a day of judgment and justice and as the hour of "signing the verdict. In all generations halakhic sages, thinkers, and moralists deprecated lengthy praying when achieved at the cost of understanding and devotion.

At the same time, it is the prayer of the Day of Atonement which expresses the perfection and greatness of the Day. In recent generations the Day of Atonement has become the last concrete bond with Judaism for many Jews. The honored place allotted to the Day of Atonement in the various branches of the belletristic literature and art also testifies to its leading position both among Jews and among Gentiles who write about Jews.

Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement – Jews for Jesus

In modern Hebrew literature the Day of Atonement appears as a symbol of Judaism, both when depicting rebellion against Judaism as for instance in the case of Nahman, the hero of Le-An by M. In Sheloshah she-Akhlu , D. The Day of Atonement plays a most important part in the works of S. Zevin, Ha-Mo'adim ba-Halakhah 2 , 62—89; T. Gaster, Festivals of the Jewish Year , —86; D. Hoffmann, Sefer Va-Yikra , ff. Arzt, Justice and Mercy , —, includes bibliography; E.

What is Yom Kippur? How do Jews observe it?

Munk, The World of Prayer, 2 , —; M. Noth, Leviticus Eng. Agnon, Days of Awe , —, includes bibliography; K. Elliger, Leviticus Ger. Chamiel ed. Levine, in: Eretz Israel , 9 , 88—95 Heb. Milgrom, Leviticus 1—16 AB; ; S. Sperling, Original Torah , —19; idem, in: R. Chazan et al. Download our mobile app for on-the-go access to the Jewish Virtual Library. By: Isaac Kalimi.

Learn about Yom Kippur from a Christian perspective

Pages: 75— By: Christopher T. Pages: 97— Pages: — By: Markus Tiwald. By: David M. By: Gabriella Gelardini. By: Andreas Lehnardt. Biographical Note Thomas Hieke , Dr. Tobias Nicklas , Dr.