Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Awesome Atonement .... it's Yom Ha' Kippurim!!!

 Unusually, This is NOT my work ... it is a Yom Kippur Posting I 'stole' from Arutz Sheva, because I thought it was excellent ..... inspirational and instructive!  And I don't know how many of you would have seen it otherwise.  It says all I want to say & much more, but I shall add an introduction!!!!

Today, Erev Yom Ha' Kippurim is phenomonally busy for me ... from Kapporos before Shaccarit, two meals and then a meal for after the fast & preparation for Shabbos on Friday.  Special Day at Shaccarit too with Yahrtzeit tefillos & brachot for my parents.  I baked some Honey Cake and drank Vodka!!  And Apologies I needed to extend personally and by mail.  But, mostly that is why I wanted to post here today because I want to say that I know there are probably many things I've said in my blog, people I may have hurt, and things I could have worded differently. If you feel that I have wronged you in any way with my writing, I ask sincerely for your forgiveness.  It does not mean that I back away from where I stated what is Emes or Truth per Torah.  I do not .... but if I have inadvertently hurt you because of my clumsiness in compiling this blog,  then I want to know about it so that I can take responsibility for it and offer you the deep, sincere and personal apology that you deserve.  I care, not just with the motivation of Yom Kippur .... so message me, please.

The most Solemn, Special day of the year begins Tuesday evening at Sundown. A time to daven, to think about who we are and where we are going. Chatima Tova!!

"Since Rosh Hashannah, many of Israel's Egged buses have had the computerized signs above the driver alternating between the vehicles' destination and the words "Chatima Tova" ~ "be sealed for a good year".

Israel radio closes its broadcasts preceding the Yom Kippur fast with the same words, said by one announcer to another and to all of Israel.  That is one of the special things about Israel. With all its differences and tensions between the secular and religious, the State of Israel is essentially closed down on Yom Kippur, with no public transportation or electronic broadcasts, and practically no open stores or services. The trains stop at 11, buses several hours later, and the IDF shuts off Palestinian Arab entrances to Jewish areas. Everyone tells everyone "chatima tova" as the phone lines jam. Even the airspace is closed.

This day, highest of the High Holidays ~ Yom Kippur ~ is to begin on Tuesday night, and Jews around the world will fast for 25 hours on the solemn day that ends the Ten Days of Penitence.  Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a Divinely-designated day that the Torah explains “will atone for you [plural] to purify you from all your sins before G-d.” Such atonement, however, is not automatic and must be accompanied by teshuvah, a serious process that must include introspection, admission of sins, remorse, and a commitment not to repeat them.

One must also appease and ask forgiveness from those he has harmed or insulted over the year. One must also forgive those who are sorry for hurting us. To err is human and can be forgiven, the refusal to forgive, however, is not forgivable.  Many people visit the graves of their parents on the days before Yom Kippur, in preparation for the Yizkor service memorializing lost parents which is said during the fast. The prayers for Yom Kippur, which begin with the Kol Nidre prayer said at night, then take up most of the day, are replete with the various concepts of t'shuvah, as well as acknowledgement of G-d’s goodness in affording mortals this opportunity to exonerate and improve themselves. One of the dramatic prayers is a review of the High Priest's preparations and yearly entering the Holy of Holies in the Temple, during which the each member of the congregation prostrates himself before G-d.  There is also a Piyyut, a liturgical poem, recalling the ten martyrs killed by the Romans, one of whom was Rabbi Akiva.

The fast begins just before sundown on Tuesday and ends some 25 hours later, after the special Ne’ilah (locking, signifying that the gates of heaven are to be locked at the end of the fast)  prayer,  said standing.   At the prayer's end, the S'hma Yisrael ~ Hear O Israel Ha'Shem is our G-d, Ha'Shem is One ~ is recited aloud by the entire congregation, followed by another two verses, including sevenfold loud repetition of the words "G-d is Ha'Shem".  The end of the fast is signalled by a dramatic, lone shofar-blast and the immediate singing of "Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem". In many Israeli synagogues, this is a signal for joyous dancing as the fast's end signals a lightening of spirits.

In addition to eating and drinking, also forbidden on this day are wearing leather shoes, washing up, make-up and perfumes, and marital relations.    The prohibitions notwithstanding, the day is also onsidered a festive day, in that we celebrate G-d’s beneficence in going against natural law and allowing us to revoke and nullify our misdeeds. It is also a “day of friendship and love," according to the prayer liturgy.

The day of the eve of Yom Kippur, the 9th of the Jewish month of Tishrei, is also considered a special day, and we are required to eat and drink even more than we normally do. "Whoever eats and drinks on the 9th,” the Talmud states enigmatically, “is as [meritorious as] if he had fasted on both the 9th and the 10th." The custom of Kaparot is done on the 9th.  Bicycling on main roads and city streets has become a popular pastime on the holy day, to the dismay of many, as there is no motor-vehicle traffic to be seen.  

Even more prevalent on this day are prayer services. Organizations make arrangements for secular-friendly prayer services around the country, which have become extremely popular and well-attended in recent years. The PR Ministry has arranged for tens of thousands of Yom Kippur prayer books, called Machzorim, to be given free to those attending its scores of special services  for the secular. The Ayelet Hashachar organization has arranged scores of services on kibbutzim that are user-friendly to the secular. Chabad is doing the same in hundreds of spots throughout Israel.

Israelis who are old enough to remember Yom Kippur 1973, recall how people were shocked to see cars driving down the streets in the early afternoon. They were rounding up soldiers as the Yom Kippur War had broken out during the day ~ almost all of the soldiers, religious and secular, were at their local synagogues and army cars went from synagogue to synagogue with lists, while sirens wailed shortly afterwards in Jerusalem and worshipers raced to shelters.  Memorial services for the war's fallen soldiers will be held on Thursday, BeZerat Ha'Shem.

One of the most dramatic prayers in the Ashkenazi Machzor on Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur is Unetane Tokef, written by Rabbi Amnon of Mayence in the Middle Ages, which includes the words .... "You, the Almighty, recall everything we have forgotten, and the book You open has our lives before You...the angels tremble and say 'Today is the Day of Judgment'.. Who will live and who will die..who by water and who by fire..."

May we and all Israel be inscribed for a happy, healthy, prosperous & peaceful New Year.  G'mar Chatima Tova!!!

The Original Arutz Sheva Posting is here ..... HERE!!

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