Yom Kippur / יום כפור
Yom Kippur (Hebrew: יוֹם כִּפּוּר or יום הכיפורים), Also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days (or sometimes “the Days of Awe”).
Yom Kippur 2020 (the Day of Atonement): September 27–28
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year—the day on which we are closest to God and to the quintessence of our own souls. It is the Day of Atonement—“For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before God” (Leviticus 16:30).
“For nearly twenty-six hours—from several minutes before sunset on 9 Tishrei (September 27) to after nightfall on 10 Tishrei (September 28)—we “afflict our souls”: we abstain from food and drink, do not wash or anoint our bodies, do not wear leather footwear, and abstain from marital relations. Instead our time is spent in prayer to God.“
On this holy day of Atonement, I am trapped in the belly of a huge fish with no chance to seek the forgiveness of either my friend or of my enemy. I am just a refugee without a refuge. I do not know my final destination. How will I find peace while I exist as a slave in a free country? If I have to suffer, I ask God to grant me His Mercy, Grace, and Compassion. LORD, let me suffer living as a prisoner in the enemy’s camp.
Rudra Narasimham Rebbapragada
Special Frontier Force-Establishment No.22-Vikas Regiment
The idea of repentance is well expressed in different Cultures but the interpretation of its consequences is not the same. The Jews associate the idea of repentance with Divine Atonement and Absolution of sins.
JUDAISM AND THE DOCTRINE OF ATONEMENT:
Repentance is a common theme of Old Testament Prophets. Prophet Jeremiah had more to say about repentance than any other Prophet. He called upon Jews to repent and condemned them for their false worship and social injustice.
To Jews, repentance means living in obedience to Yahweh’s Will for the individual and the nation of Israel. For a Jew, atonement is expiation for his own sin in order to attain God’s forgiveness. He may achieve this in various ways, including repentance, payment for a wrong action, good works, suffering, and prayer. Repentance and changed conduct are stressed as the most important aspects of Atonement.
God set up Laws for the Israelites mostly regarding holiness and worship. The Old Testament Book of Leviticus, Chapter 16, verse 34: “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you; Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.”
The Day of Atonement or YOM KIPPUR is the most important and solemn of the Jewish holidays. It is the tenth and final day of the Ten Days of Repentance which begins with Rosh Hashanah.
God has issued a lasting ordinance and has called upon the Jews to obtain Atonement once a year. After the destruction of the Second Temple at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Jews discontinued the practice of ritualistic animal sacrifice to make the sin and burnt offerings to seek Atonement.
The observance of Yom Kippur includes a 25 hour period of fasting and intensive prayer. At the end of Yom Kippur, the man considers himself absolved from his sin and is reconciled to God.
Repentance is not a personal choice for the Jews.