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Neilah: The Closing Services

Neilah: The Closing Services

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The Neilah service consists of some opening prayers, the Amidah, the cantor's repetition of the Amidah, Avinu Malkenu ("Our Father, Our King"), a declaration of our faith, the sounding of the Shofar, and some closing prayers.

Neilah means "closing the gate." As the awesome day of Yom Kippur comes to a close, and our future is being sealed, we turn to G-d to accept our sincere repentance and new resolutions, and ask that He seal us in the Book of Life, granting us a new year replete with goodness and happiness. The Ark remains open for the entire Neilah service, signifying that the Gates of Heaven are wide open to our prayers and entreaties.

Closing Prayers

The apex of the service, the emotional peak, is when we pronounce, in unison, three verses proclaiming G-d as our G-d.

First we recite the Shema -- "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One." It is written that when we recite this verse, every Jew should have the intention of giving up his or her soul for the sanctification of G-d's name, and this intention will be considered as if we have indeed withstood the test to sanctify the Divine Name.

Then we recite the next verse -- "Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever" -- three times, together. This is followed by the declaration of G-d's unity, "G-d - He is the Only G-d" -- first recited at Mt. Carmel by the prophet Elijah -- seven times, in the most ardent way. The shofar is then sounded, one long sound, and the Neilah service ends with the prayer:

"Next Year may we be in Jerusalem!"

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Discussion (6)
October 8, 2011
hey china
dont give up do all you can i was not born a jew but i also do all the holy times of hashem have have been for 20 years and learn more every year but that is part of the wonder and the growing in my heart.I do have the option of finding a place to go to do and learn but have found it better to ask and learn mostly because it is over 60 mile to a town.One thing i know for a fact it pleases G-D with my effort and so does yours bless you my friend in china I pray you are written in all the books for blessings and life
rick
big cabin, ok/usa
October 8, 2011
Yom Kippur
I want to thank you for this wonderful website of Jewish information. I have been practicing Judaism since 2006. I have not converted yet, but I practice as if I have. Yom Kippur is my favorite of the holidays. I feel such a sense of renewal. An inner peace I don't feel on any other day of the year. chabad.org has helped me so much!! Thank you again.
AMP
warwick, RI
October 3, 2011
Yom Kippur
It my huge ignorance, I have been practicing a Yom Kippur since almost 7 years. I am not a Jew but with the help of Internet and few Jewish friends, I find this moment fascinating and very close to our G-d. May be I am not a Jew but I ask every day for my incoming son to be. This would be a priviledge. The big problem I live in China.
wilhelm hernandez
foshan, china
September 28, 2009
High holidays
I usually skip them. Too much anxiety nervous tension in the air. I am very regular for Shabbats about 40 times a year, minimum, and occasional Sunday Shachrit with tefillin. I semi-participate in the other holidays . Except Pesach which I fully participate. Just thought that I would share this perspective. Too much religion and scary tactics to participate is a huge turnoff. So I keep myself keen by limiting exposure. There is more to life than full time spiritual dogma. However, there are lots that are 100% actively involved in Chabad theology. Some are not really good people despite their reciting food prayers and all the rest. Some of these pious folks do not give tzeddakah, on any level.
Anonymous
winnipeg, canada
September 21, 2007
Last Year
Last year Yom Kippur, during the closing of the Ark at the close of Neilah, a thunderstorm broke, and just as the Ark was about to be closed, a tremendous bolt of lightning struck nearby. The thunder was incredible, sharp, raw. It was terrifying and exhilarating. I felt moved to tears, and I remember that moment with utmost clarity.
JI
IL
October 2, 2006
Atonement - Kept by Baptists Too
...Just a note to say that as an African-American Baptist, I am "keeping" this solemn day of Atonement. I am confessing my sins and repenting of them, and believing God for spiritual and temporal blessings throughout this year for my family, my friends, and myself. Thank you for making available the ceremonial aspects of this most holy day.
Kenneth Young
Chicago, IL
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