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Yom Kippur in a Minute

Yom Kippur in a Minute

Second Chances

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Forty days after they received the Torah at Mount Sinai and committed to be G‑d’s chosen people, the Children of Israel worshipped a Golden Calf. Moses pleaded with G‑d not to destroy His errant nation, and on the tenth of Tishrei G‑d said, “I have forgiven.” Ever since, we observe this date as the “Day of Atonement”—a celebration of our indestructible relationship with G‑d. It is the holiest day of the year, when we reconnect with our very essence, which remains faithful to G‑d regardless of our behavior.

Angelic Behavior

We wear white clothes in emulation of the spiritual angelsYom Kippur is a fast day: from sundown on the eve of Yom Kippur until the following nightfall, we do not eat or drink. (If you’re ill, consult a rabbi.) We also abstain from certain physical pleasures: wearing leather footwear, bathing or washing, applying lotions or creams, and marital relations. It is also a “day of rest,” on which all work is forbidden (as on Shabbat).

Five Prayers

We wear white clothes in emulation of the spiritual angels, and spend the greater part of the day in the synagogue engaged in repentance and prayer. There are five prayer services: 1) The evening prayers, which begin with the solemn Kol Nidrei. 2) Morning prayer. 3) Musaf, which includes a description of the Yom Kippur Holy Temple service. 4) Afternoon prayer, during which the Book of Jonah is read. 5) Ne’ilah, recited as the day wanes and the verdict for the new year is sealed. The first four prayers include a (private) confession of sins to G‑d.

Many laws and customs are associated with the prayer services; your synagogue rabbi will lead you along as needed.

End of the Fast

Ne’ilah concludes with the congregation calling out the Shema in unison, and then a blast of the shofar signals the end of the day.

Yom Kippur is followed by a festive meal. We rejoice, confident that G‑d has forgiven our sins.

For detailed Yom Kippur how-tos, visit our expanded Yom Kippur section.

By Chabad.org Staff
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Discussion (11)
October 11, 2016
"behavior doesn't matter"
If the children of Israel did not repent, would G-d had forgiven them?
Josephine Rossano
Orlando, Florida
September 20, 2015
To Alice
The fast ends at 732PM in NY in 2015
Chabad.org Staff
chabadone.org
September 14, 2015
Break fast
What time in NYC is break fast?
Alicia Feuer
NYC
October 2, 2014
G'mar Hatimah Tovah
or Gmar Chatimah Tova - essentially but not literally "may you be sealed for a good year". The hope that you are judged well by G-d and your name is in the book.
"Gmar tov" is the abbreviated form.
Steve
Virginia
October 2, 2014
proper greeting
what is the proper greeting for yom kippur? What is the meaning of gmar tov?
herb mordkoff
rockaway nj
October 5, 2011
Re The annual loop of atonment & forgiveness
There are many forms of idolatry, anything that is put or done as being more important than God is idolatry. Instead of atoning 365 days of the year you might as well have just one day to atone by fasting. The whole idea is that there is a covenant with God. You have to think if you are a Jew why did your soul and not someone else's soul enter the embryo in your mother's wombe and make you to be reborn as a Jew?
Could it have been to make your soul closer to God?
David Flinkstein
London, UK
October 4, 2011
Yom Kippur
I think Susanna misses the point.

One of my rabbis decribes sin as "not seeing the truth yet." It is not about the obvious Bernie Madoff-like behavior, but about how our ego can invade our motivations, even when we think we are doing good. I used to read the Al Chet and think, "I never did that! I didn't cheat in business, or on my wife. I didn't steal or kill, or do any of those things. Why am I even here?"

What I have come to learn is that a fine line exists between righteous and self-righteous. Yom Kippur is the time for me to stop acting, stop emotiing, and genuinely reflect on my behavior and my motives, in order to become more selfless and genuinely righteous in the year to come. The concept of T'Shuvah deepens and becomes more real every year. I don't think I will ever get it down completely. That is why I will continue to PRACTICE Judaism every year of my life, and strive to improve one day at a time. I am grateful to Chabad, which helps me do so.
Anonymous
Calabasas, CA
October 3, 2011
Annual Atonement
It's very easy to take this all for "self"; (not saying there's no room for self eval) but, this is about the national of Israel, not just individuals. Yes, individuals should repent daily if necessary and make the amends, daily because no one knows the hour of their own demise, or demise of a loved one; we have 364 days to clean up individualy, and incourage others to do so and to be ready for the GREAT DAY; we also have Rosh Chodesh which many use a mini Yom Kippur; nothing stopping anyone from making a correction today; while tit is still called today.
Anonymous
September 29, 2009
To Lady Arwen Legolas Wilson:
Here is a snippet from Daniel 4:24 that I believe is relevant: "Indeed, O king, may my counsel please you, and with charity you will remove your sin and your iniquity by showing mercy to the poor; perhaps your tranquility will last."

Obviously, cash itself would not be able to "buy off" G-d. However sincere goodness and sharing with others is surely a great merit which would stand in anyone's defense.
Menachem Posner for Chabad.org
September 27, 2009
Tzedakah during the Yomim Noraim (High Holidays)
Can G-D's Mercy really be bought with money. Where does it say that in the Torah?
Lady Arwen Legolas Wilson
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