Yom Kippur, in the words of the Rebbe, “is the Day of Atonement, when we are closest to G‑d and most connected to the essence of our souls. It’s the holiest day of the year, when Jews come together, fasting and praying as one.” And, it just might be the feast that could bring union to the whole body of Christ, Gentile and Jew, and all of creation. Keep Reading and discover why. (Yom Kippur 2018 begins several minutes before sunset on September 18 and concludes after nightfall on September 19.)
🍎See if you can make out some familiar distinctions in the deeply rooted beliefs of the Hebrew traditions and the Christian beliefs in their fulfillment. My personal favorite is the meaning behind wearing the white garments. KEEP READING 👇🏼
LET THERE BE LIGHT (Matthew 6:16)
“Even though there is no food to be had on Yom Kippur, we still dress the table with a festive cloth and light candles before the onset of the holy day. We say two blessings on the candles: one for the candles, and the other, the Shehecheyanu blessing (the Prayer of Firsts from Rosh Hashanah which is said each month at Rosh Chodesh and every time a “first” occurs in one’s life. CLICK HERE TO See my latest article for more on Rosh Hashanah), thanks G‑d for enabling us to reach this milestone.
LET THE CHILDREN COME (Matthew 10:13-15)
There is a time-honored custom to bless one’s children before Yom Kippur begins. Although there is no required formula, it is customary to say:
For a son: “May G‑d make you like Ephraim and Menashe.”
For a daughter: “May G‑d make you like Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah.”
For all children: The L‑rd spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying: This is how you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: “May G‑d bless you and guard you. ‘May G‑d shine His countenance upon you and be gracious to you. ‘May G‑d turn His countenance toward you and grant you peace.” They shall bestow My Name upon the children of Israel, so that I will bless them.
THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME (Exodus 20:3-5)
The first prayer of Yom Kippur, known as Kol Nidre, is often thought of as the quintessential prayer of the day. In fact, it’s not even a prayer! It is simply a declaration that all our vows be considered null and void. ( Ecclesiastes 5:4,5)
It is well known that we do not eat or drink on Yom Kippur. But did you know that it is just one of five things we eschew on this holy day? Here are the other four: conjugal relations (1 Corinthians 7:5), washing, applying lotions or oils (Daniel 10:3) and wearing leather footwear.
More than 3,300 years ago, after hearing from G‑d at Sinai, the children of Israel sinned by creating and worshiping a golden calf. Moses came down from Mount Sinai, saw what had happened, and smashed the two tablets on which the Ten Commandments were engraved. Moses then ascended the mountain once again, and stayed there for 40 days, and then another 40 days. On the tenth day of the month of Tishrei he came down with a complete pardon as well as a second set of tablets.
Ever since, the day of Moses’s descent has been known as Yom Kippur, the day of FORGIVENESS, an appropriate day to ask G‑d (and others) to forgive us for anything we may have done wrong.
Christians would identify this well with the 40 days Jesus spent with the disciples following his descent from the Father in the days after his resurrection. Jesus’ sacrifice on the mountain attained for us forgiveness that would last forever. Where the Hebrew people could only bring their sacrifice of atonement one day a year, on the anniversary of Moses’ descent, Christians can bring their sacrifice of atonement any time they desire, as is the case with some parts of the faith who do this through daily mass or the sacrament of reconciliation. Jesus became the fulfillment of that day at Mt. Sinai!
THEIR GARMENTS SHALL BE COME WHITE AS SNOW… YOU WILL BE LIKE THE ANGELS (Isaiah 1:18; Revelations 7:14; Matthew 22:30)
There is an ancient custom to wear white on Yom Kippur. This reminds us of the burial shrouds that all people wear eventually. But the white garments also remind us of the pristine angels to whom we are compared on this most sacred of days.
I HAVE COME THAT THEY MAY BE ONE… THE SAINTS ENTER IN WITH YOU (Hebrews 11:29-30)
It is a day of unity and remembrance of all the faithful, including the martyrs.
PRAY & FAST (Matthew 6:16-18)
On an ordinary day, there are three daily prayers: Maariv (evening prayer), Shacharit (morning prayer) and Minchah (afternoon prayer). OnShabbat and holidays, we add Musaf (additional prayer). Yom Kippur is the only day of the year when we pray Ne’ilah, the closing prayer, which is said as the sun is sinking in the west and this special day is coming to a close. Fasting ensues for a full 25 hours. (Aside from brushing their teeth, Jews avoid all foods and liquids to prepare themselves to be purified and renewed before God for the year ahead.)
ONLY THE PURE SHALL SEE GOD AND LIVE (Matthew 5:8)
The Torah actually refers to Yom Kippur as “Yom Hakippurim.” Literally, this means “the day of forgiveness.” But it can also be rendered as “a day like Purim.” Purim is a happy day, celebrated by giving gifts, partying and having a great time. And yet, Yom Kippur, the most sacred of days, is only like Purim, i.e., it doesn’t quite reach Purim’s level of holiness. How can that be?
LIVE HOLY AND OBEDIENT LIVES (1 Peter 1:14-16)
Our goal on this earth is to make the mundane holy, to make Tuesday afternoon as G‑d-oriented as Friday evening. On Purim, we embrace our physical selves, our base desires and our crass surroundings, lifting them up into the realm of the spirit. On Yom Kippur, however, we focus solely on the spirit. No physical distractions or material needs to get in the way. This sets us on the road toward the goal of elevating the world around us. But it is only a start. On Purim, we finally get there.
HE WHO HAD NO SIN BECAME THE ATONEMENT WHO BORE THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Two goats were brought to the Temple. The High Priest would draw lots, one bearing the words, “to the L‑rd,” the other, “to Azazel.” The goat for which the words “to the L‑rd” fell was offered as a sacrifice. The High Priest confessed the sins of the nation over the other goat, and it was then taken away into the desert hills outside Jerusalem to plunge to its death, taking the sins of the people with it. Tradition tells us that a scarlet thread would be attached to its horns, and half of the thread was removed before the animal was sent away. If the rite had been effective, the red thread that remained would turn to white, symbolizing Israel’s purity.
HE BECAME THE HIGH PRIEST… AND ON THE THIRD DAY HE EMERGED FROM THE TOMB… AND ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14-10:22)
The Kohen Gadol (High Priest) would be separated from his family and community for a week before Yom Kippur, holed up in the “Lishkat Parhedrin,” a special chamber in the Holy Temple. This isolation process served as a way for the Kohen Gadol to make sure he remained ritually pure and had every aspect of the service down pat. It was also an opportune time for introspection, when he could finalize his spiritual preparation for representing the Jewish people on the holiest day in the holiest place on earth.
SANCTIFY YOURSELVES, A GOOD AND PLEASING OFFERING TO THE LORD. PRESENT YOUR BODIES AS A LIVING TEMPLE (1 Thessalonians 4:3; Romans 12:1)
In the late afternoon, before sundown, while exhausted and painfully hungry, we read chapter 18 of Leviticus, which details the prohibitions against incest and other forbidden sexual behaviors. This is a seemingly inappropriate passage to be read at such a lofty and pivotal moment in our journey of repentance. The reason we read this passage at this moment is that it serves as a reminder that however high we try to ascend, we are still mortal beings with lowly urges and desires. Mentioning the lowliest sins serves as a reminder as to how important our daily actions are, and how meaningful the daily struggle with the evil inclination truly is.
AND A TRUMPET SHALL SOUND ON THAT LAST DAY (1 Corinthians 15:52)
The blowing of the shofar at the conclusion of Yom Kippur is the culmination of a day spent fasting and praying for a sweet new year. The blast is reminiscent of the shofar blasts that rang out when the Divine Presence departed from Mount Sinai. It also serves to remind everyone that the night following Yom Kippur is a quasi holiday, replete with a festive meal. To help everyone remember this, it is also appropriate to wish each other a “good yom tov!”
Thought Yom Kippur is one day long? Our sages tell us that it is a mitzvah to extend the holy day in either direction, starting a bit early (before sunset) and ending late (after the stars come out). They make a comparison to a hungry wolf, which bites at its prey in front and behind. It’s a good thing that our “appetite” is for extra sanctity, stretching Shabbat, Yom Kippur and other holidays into the mundane.
THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB… (Revelation 19:6-9)
In Yiddish, the day after Yom Kippur is called “Gott’s Nomen” (“G‑d’s Name”). It is a widespread custom to wish people “gut yom tov” (“happy holiday”) following Yom Kippur. We also begin building the sukkah, the foliage-covered hut where we will celebrate the holiday of Sukkot, (the Festival of Booths or the covenant covering of God over His people, like the “chuppah” in the marital ceremony), which is five days after Yom Kippur. ”
These traditions hold true value to all of us who profess to be sons and daughters of the Most High God, whether Jew or Gentile, in Christ there is no distinction. What we can learn from our Jewish brethren is similar to what we can learn from all the brethren, that we have a Father in Heaven whose love for us is unrelenting. And, who set into motion a Divine Plan to reach into the earth and pull in the fullness of Heaven. For the Jewish people they may not yet have recognized Messiah has come, but in accordance with the will of Our Father that day WILL come! And, we will be reconciled to one another once more without distinction as the Scriptures say. Let us then who do SEE the hand of Our Father at work already, resolve to know Him as He revealed Himself to His people, the Israelites, and in knowing how they love Him as we do, cultivate an open door for them to step into the fullness of what we have seen God Himself reveal to us Believers in the Messiah Jesus Christ. Like this beautiful Holiest of Holy Days presumes, let us join in the purification process and prepare our hearts to receive the Covenant promises of Our Heavenly Father to attain what is the will of our Father declared to us in John 17:20-22 when Jesus prayed, that We May Be ONE!
Blessings to all who celebrate these feasts. May your year be sweet and healthy!
⁃ Kim Engel and all of us at Sheerah Ministries
Article notes taken from Chabad.org http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3784348/jewish/19-Yom-Kippur-Facts-Every-Jew-Should-Know.htm
In spite of the historical breach and the painful conflicts arising from it, the Church remains conscious of its enduring continuity with Israel. Judaism is not to be considered simply as another religion; the Jews are instead our “elder brothers” (Saint Pope John Paul II), our “fathers in faith” (Benedict XVI). Jesus was a Jew, was at home in the Jewish tradition of his time, and was decisively shaped by this religious milieu (cf. “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente”, 20). His first disciples gathered around him had the same heritage and were defined by the same Jewish tradition in their everyday life. In his unique relationship with his heavenly Father, Jesus was intent above all on proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of God. “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15). Within Judaism there were many very different kinds of ideas regarding how the kingdom of God would be realised, and yet Jesus’ central message on the Kingdom of God is in accordance with some Jewish thinking of his day. One cannot understand Jesus’ teaching or that of his disciples without situating it within the Jewish horizon in the context of the living tradition of Israel; one would understand his teachings even less so if they were seen in opposition to this tradition. In Jesus not a few Jews of his time saw the coming of a ‘new Moses’, the promised Christ (Messiah). But his coming nevertheless provoked a drama with consequences still felt today. Fully and completely human, a Jew of his time, descendant of Abraham, son of David, shaped by the whole tradition of Israel, heir of the prophets, Jesus stands in continuity with his people and its history. On the other hand he is, in the light of the Christian faith, himself God – the Son – and he transcends time, history, and every earthly reality. The community of those who believe in him confesses his divinity (cf. Phil 2:6-11). In this sense he is perceived to be in discontinuity with the history that prepared his coming. From the perspective of the Christian faith, he fulfils the mission and expectation of Israel in a perfect way. At the same time, however, he overcomes and transcends them in an eschatological manner. Herein consists the fundamental difference between Judaism and Christianity, that is, how the figure of Jesus is to be evaluated. Jews are able to see Jesus as belonging to their people, a Jewish teacher who felt himself called in a particular way to preach the Kingdom of God. That this Kingdom of God has come with himself as God’s representative is beyond the horizon of Jewish expectation. The conflict between Jesus and the Jewish authorities of his time is ultimately not a matter of an individual transgression of the law, but of Jesus’ claim to be acting with divine authority. The figure of Jesus thus is and remains for Jews the ‘stumbling block’, the central and neuralgic point in Jewish-Catholic dialogue. From a theological perspective, Christians need to refer to the Judaism of Jesus’ time and to a degree also the Judaism that developed from it over the ages for their own self-understanding. Given Jesus’ Jewish origins, coming to terms with Judaism in one way or another is indispensable for Christians. Yet, the history of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity has also been mutually influenced over time.
– COMMISSION FOR RELIGIOUS RELATIONS WITH THE JEWS
“THE GIFTS AND THE CALLING
OF GOD ARE IRREVOCABLE”
A REFLECTION ON THEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS PERTAINING
TO CATHOLIC–JEWISH RELATIONS ON THE OCCASION OF THE
50TH ANNIVERSARY OF “NOSTRA AETATE” (NO.4) http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/relations-jews-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20151210_ebraismo-nostra-aetate_en.html#6._The_Church’s_mandate_to_evangelize_in_relation_to_Judaism
❤️💛💙 Yom Kippur begins at sundown tonight. It is the HOLIEST DAY OF THE YEAR according to Jewish Tradition “when we are closest to G‑d and to the essence of our souls.” Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” as the verse states, “For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G‑d.” IT IS A CALL TO FORGIVENESS AND UNITY. May we enter in to the fullness this year of all God’s plans for us His people through Messiah and BE SEALED by the power of His Holy Spirit. “May you have an easy fast!”