PERSONAL NEWS: G'mar Chatima Tovah 5768!
The Jewish holidays are such that "when they rain, they pour"... and Rosh Hoshanah and Yom Kippur are, by design, very close together. I'm keeping this post brief since I'm getting myself in the right frame of mind to properly clear my mind and face the year fresh. And as a side note, for those who may not know, G'mar Chatima Tovah! literally means something like "May you finish well and with blessings"... not a perfect translation, but I'm not so much a perfect translator. It's most often translated as: "may you be sealed in the book of life."
And a quick few reminders to myself about what Yom Kippur is about thanks to the Hillel Foundation:
And here's a quick link for those who may want to know more:
Yom Kippur is a holiday that raises many questions. Numerous rituals, prayers, and themes are unique to this holiest day of the Jewish year. This fact sheet will provide an introduction to the practices of Yom Kippur.
- Yom Kippur is one of the most widely observed holidays on the Jewish calendar.
- Yom Kippur marks the highest synagogue attendance rate of any other day in the year.
- To afflict ourselves for our sins, the Talmud requires that we practice "self denial." Thus, we abstain from eating, drinking, bathing, sexual relations, using bath oils and lotions, etc., and wearing leather shoes.
- It is traditional to wear white on Yom Kippur as a sign of purity.
- Yom Kippur, the 10th of Tishrei, is the day that Moses came down from Sinai with the second set of the tablets of the Ten Commandments, to replace the original set that he broke upon witnessing the children of Israel worshipping the Golden Calf.
- On Yom Kippur, it's traditional not to wear gold or other jewelry so as not to remind G-d of the sin of the Golden Calf.
- Yom Kippur is the only day where a tallit, the four cornered prayer shawl with fringes that symbolize the 613 commandments, is worn in the evening.
- Kol Nidrei (meaning "our vows"), the service on the eve of Yom Kippur, is a communal supplication asking G-d to view all vows made under duress as null and void.
- In Biblical and Rabbinic times, Temple rituals and sacrifices were the focus of the holiday. Among the highlights of the day was the scapegoat ceremony during which lots would be placed on two goats. One goat would be offered as a sacrifice in the Temple, in the Holy of Holies; and the second would be thrown into the wilderness. Once the Temples were destroyed, prayer and return, i.e. repentance, are the focus while the Temple ritual is recounted as part of the Yom Kippur liturgy.
- Today, in addition to the traditional three prayer services (morning, afternoon, and evening), Yom Kippur includes a special Musaf (additional) service, Yizkor (memorial service), the Avodah service (a symbolic reenactment of the ancient priestly ritual for Yom Kippur), Viddui (the communal confession of sin), and Neiliah (the concluding service).
- During the afternoon service, we read the story of Jonah and the whale.
- During the Viddui, the communal confession of sin, it is customary to beat one's chest.
- The Neiliah service marks the end of Yom Kippur and concludes with the blowing of the shofar, a sign of redemption.
- It is said, "On Rosh Hashana, it is written. On Yom Kippur, it is sealed." Thus, the traditional Yom Kippur salutation is "G'mar Tov" (finish well) or "G'mar Chatima Tova" (may you be sealed in the book of life).
May we all be sealed in the Book of Life and have a year of peace, prosperity, unity and wisdom.
Notes regarding photos / pictures / videos: These are not all my images and videos. I am using various images and videos from around the web, mostly from public sources and/or private sources used with permission. I have tried to include only images and videos under public domain, creative commons, or fair use. If I have inadvertently violated any copyrights, please inform me and I will remove your image/s (if it is indeed an infringement).