Yom Kippur 2022: date, history, meaning and celebrations

Yom Kippur is the holiest holiday in the religion of Judaism. This festival is also known as the Day of Atonement and usually lasts around 25 hours and is usually celebrated with fasting and themes of atonement and repentance.

Yom Kippur is one of the two important holidays among the Jewish people, the other being Rosh Hashanah which is the Jewish New Year which is celebrated a few days before and these two holidays form the components of the major holy days of Judaism.

This festival is the most important for the Jewish people and therefore has a national status in the land of Israel. This festival is observed by Jews for their atonement and repentance to God for their personal sins.

Event Yom Kippur
Date October 5, 2022
Day Wednesday
Importance The day marks one of the important holidays in Judaism
Observed by Worldwide

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Date of Yom Kippur:

Yom Kippur takes place every year on the 10th day of the month of Tishri which is the seventh month according to the Jewish calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, this usually occurs between September and October. This day is one of the major holy days or days of fear in Judaism along with Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Year. This year, it will end on the evening of October 5.

History of Yom Kippur:

According to Jewish tradition, Yom Kippur dates back to the time of the Prophet Moses. After receiving the Ten Commandments from God atop Mount Sinai, Moses returned to the Israelites. Where he discovered that in his absence they had begun to worship the false idol of a golden calf. In a fit of anger, Moses broke the commandments, written on the stone, then went back up the mountain to ask God’s forgiveness and to repent for himself and his people.

It is believed that it was on this day that Moses completed and sent down the second set of commandments from Sinai, signifying that God had granted atonement to him and his people for the sin of worshiping the golden calf. This rabbinical interpretation also gives historical significance to the otherwise unexplained placement of the holiday 10 days after Rosh Hashanah.

Well, it is not known exactly when the celebrations of this holiday were started by the Jews, but one thing is certain, it has been observed by the Jews for a very long time and it is still widely celebrated by the Jews. However, as the Jews had been forced to leave their homeland by the invaders, the Jews were widely persecuted for observing their festival and culture in other countries.

But the culture and traditions of this festival have revived considerably in the modern century since the formation of the modern state of Israel in 1948. We all know how much the Jews were persecuted during the second world war, so the formation of Israel has given them a huge boost. and confidence in their culture and traditions. And since then, this festival has been celebrated with great grandeur. During the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when Israel fought against several enemy countries, this festival gave a lot of hope to the people of Israel, and therefore, this festival also left a mark in history.

In the modern world, this festival holds a lot of significance among the Jewish people as an identity and culture. Therefore, this festival is very important for all Jews, whether they are from Israel or from Jewish communities around the world, such as the United States, which has the second largest number of Jews after Israel. Since 2016, the United Nations has officially recognized Yom Kippur, stating that from then on, no official meetings would take place on this day. It is the only Jewish holiday recognized by the UN.

Meaning of Yom Kippur:

Of all the holy days in the Jewish faith, Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year. Literally meaning “the day of atonement,” Yom Kippur encompasses all the emotions necessary for spiritual ablution, from guilt to grief to resolution. Yom Kippur marks the end of the 10 days of repentance, which begin with the Jewish New Year which is Rosh Hashanah. During this time, an individual is believed to be able to influence God’s decree for the coming year. It is the day when an individual asks God for forgiveness as a form of repentance for the sins he has committed in the past.

Yom means “day” in Hebrew and Kippur is translated as “atonement”. The common English translation of Yom Kippur is Day of Atonement; however, this translation lacks precision. The name Yom Kippur is based on the Torah verse, but the 10th day of the seventh month is Yom Kippurim for you. The literal translation of kippurim is cleansing. Yom Kippur is a Jewish day to atone for wrongdoing and to be cleansed and purified of it.

Yom Kippur is a legal holiday in Israel. There are no radio or television broadcasts, airports are closed, there is no public transport and all shops and businesses are closed. It is considered rude to eat in public on Yom Kippur or to listen to music or drive a motor vehicle. There is no legal prohibition on such actions, but in practice such actions are almost universally avoided in Israel on Yom Kippur, with the exception of emergency services.

According to Jewish tradition, God writes everyone’s destiny for the coming year in 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 change his behavior and ask forgiveness for wrongs committed against God and other human beings. Yom Kippur evening and day are reserved for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt. At the end of Yom Kippur, it is hoped 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 or Shabbat or Yom Tov which has four prayer services, Yom Kippur, on the other hand, has five prayer services. Prayer services also include private and public confessions of sins and a unique prayer dedicated to the special Yom Kippur avoda (service) of the Kohen Gadol (high priest) in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

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Yom Kippur celebrations:

Erev Yom Kippur is the day before Yom Kippur, corresponding to the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Tishri. This day is commemorated with additional morning prayers, asking others for forgiveness, doing charity, performing the kapparot ritual, an extended afternoon prayer service, and two festive meals.

Yom Kippur is marked by abstention from food, drink, washing, conduct and sex by Jews. Among Orthodox Jews, wearing leather shoes and anointing with oil are also forbidden on this day. Orthodox Jews may wear long white robes called kittel. Visiting the synagogue is also a tradition, although not all Jews observe all aspects of Yom Kippur.

Jewish congregations spend Yom Kippur eve and all day in prayer and meditation. On the eve of Yom Kippur, Kol Nidre is recited. Famous for its beautiful melody, the Kol Nidre is a declaration nullifying all vows made during the year as far as they concern you.

Friends also ask and accept each other’s forgiveness for past offenses on the eve of Yom Kippur, because obtaining forgiveness from fellow human beings means God’s forgiveness. It is believed that God forgives the sins of those who sincerely repent and show their repentance through improved behavior and the performance of good deeds.

Services on Yom Kippur itself last continuously from morning to evening and include Torah readings and the recitation of penitential prayers. Yizkor, which are memorial prayers for the recently deceased, may also be recited by members of the congregation. Services end with closing prayers and the blowing of the ritual horn known as the shofar.

Most Searched Yom Kippur FAQs:

1. When is Yom Kippur celebrated?

Yom Kippur is celebrated annually on every 10 days of the month of Tishri according to the Jewish calendar.

2. What is the main purpose of Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur purifies individually and collectively through the practice of repentance for one’s own sins and seeking God’s forgiveness for the sins of others.

3. What are the rules for Yom Kippur?

Starting at sunset, Yom Kippur is observed for a period of 25 hours. The five prohibitions are: eating and drinking, anointing the body with moisturizer or oil, bathing, having sex, and wearing leather shoes.

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