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Something to think about on Yom Kippur...

By Zanna Linskaia

On Yom Kippur we believe that God will forgive all our sins, but is it really true?

Regarding the rabbis of the Talmud every action of human being has moral aspect when our good deeds and our bad behaviors were equally balanced. The world too is balanced between good and evil -what we can see and feel right now. From that perspective our actions as individuals determine not only whether our own life stands, but also of the ability to choose the right side of humankind.

First time in the Jewish history Yom Kippur was observed in the 2nd Temple in 515 BCE. Then during 500-600 CE Talmud elaborated themes and services on Yom Kippur. The crucial point for Jews was 1973 when Yom Kippur War breaks out between Israel and Arabs countries.

Yom Kippur is the holiest Day of the year and anniversary of the creation of the world. It is also the day Moses achieved complete forgiveness for people of Israel after the sin of the Golden Calf.

In connection with God’s forgiveness, we promise to follow 39 forbidden categories of “work”, wearing white cloths, symbol of purity and practice five “no” on Yom Kippur - no eating, no drinking, no bathing, no applying lotion, no wearing leather shoes and no having sex.

In case of Yom Kippur restrictions it was an interesting story of Sandy Koufax, one of the famous Jewish athletes in American sports made headlines, when he refused to play in the 1st game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. When Koufax’s replacement Don Drysdale was pulled from the game for poor performance, he told his manager Walter Alston - “I bet you wish I was Jewish too”.

On Yom Kippur Eve we make a declaration before a final judgement - “Kol Nidre” (all vows). On a deepest level - the way we enter this sacred day, when we united with God, leaving behind us our mistakes and regrets for the poor decisions we made. Traditionally, Kol Nidre is written in Aramaic - language of ancient Jews prior to the Islamic Conquest.

During Yom Kippur 5784 we are going to pray as a community, not only for ourselves, but for Jews all over the world and Israel. It will be the day of joy and grace, repentance and renewal, forgiveness, remembrance and hope, gratitude and love. It will end with a shofar blast, a fast break and wishes for a good year and best future.

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