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Yom Kippur, Starting Tonight, Is the Holiest Day of the Jewish Year

October 3, 2014
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Prayer service with shofar during the Days of Repentance preceding Yom Kippur at the Western Wall Yom Kippur, this year from Friday evening to Saturday evening (October 3–4), is the most holy day of the year in Israel. In English Bibles, it is called the Day of Atonement. It is sometimes called the Shabbat of Shabbats. This is the day when the High Priest in biblical times entered the Holy of Holies to seek forgiveness of sins for himself and the nation. It is a day when the Jewish people seek forgiveness from God. The synagogues are full of worshippers. It is a day of complete fasting from food and water. The vast majority of the country participates, with over 80% fasting.

Yom Kippur is holy to God as well. In Leviticus 23:26–32, we find, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves…” Three times in these verses, the Children of Israel are commanded to deny themselves. The most common interpretation for this (in Israel) is to fast from food and water. However, just before the fast begins, a large meal is eaten, and as soon as the fast is completed, another meal is quickly prepared, because everyone is very hungry.

The nation of Israel stops for 25 hours (from an hour before sundown to sundown the next day). The streets are empty, as everyone stays home and virtually no one—except Arabs—drives a car anywhere unless it is an absolute emergency. Children and teens take advantage of this fact and rollerblade, ride their bikes, and walk in the middle of the streets—the only day of the year when such a thing is possible.

As Jewish people around the world seek forgiveness on this solemn day of the Lord, we at Bridges for Peace encourage all Christians to join with them and ask forgiveness for ourselves and our nations in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Posted on October 3, 2014

Source: (By Bridges for Peace, September 13, 2013)

Photo Credit: Neyman/gpo/

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