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Laws and Customs of Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. Yet it’s much more than a day of forgiveness; it’s a time when the essential connection between G-d and the Jewish people is revealed. This connection is so strong that even Jews who do not attend synagogue the rest of the year attend shul this day. They also want to express their intrinsic bond with the King.

Yom Kippur Laws and Customs:

* Before Yom Kippur,  we eat a special meal, to prepare ourselves for the fast. (Hint: eat a lot of complex carbs!)

On Yom Kippur itself,

* Attend synagogue

* Do not eat or drink for 24 hours

* Do not wear leather shoes

* Do not wash 

* Do not apply oils or creams to the body

* Do not engage in marital relations

Yom Kippur consists of five different prayer services. Each service allows us to personally experience a different facet of the King’s unique relationship with the Jewish people:  

Kol Nidre--Maariv (Evening Service) – During this time, all Jews come together as one people with one heart, turned toward our Father in Heaven.

Shacharis (Morning Service) – During the morning service, we say Yizkor, the memorial service for our departed relatives, for they, too, remain part of the Jewish people.

Musaf (Additional Service) – we read about the Kohain’s service in the Holy Temple.

Mincha (Afternoon Service) – We read the story of Jonah, the prophet who caused the city of Nineveh to do teshuva. 

Neilah (“Closing of the Gates”.) - The five services correspond to five levels of the Jewish soul.  The highest level of the soul is called Yechidah, meaning “oneness.”  It corresponds to Neilah, when essential unity between man and his Creator is revealed, and we proclaim with all our being, “Hear O’ Israel the L-rd is G-d, the L-rd is One.”

Yom Kippur & Moshiach

On Yom Kippur, we act like spiritual beings by focusing on the ultimate reality of

G-d.  It is this reality that will be come apparent with Moshiach, as the prophet Isaiah states, “The world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as waters fill and cover the seas.”



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