Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur

Overview
Yom Kippur also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

. Its central themes are atonement
Atonement in Judaism
Atonement in Judaism is the process of causing a transgression to be forgiven or pardoned.- In Rabbinic Judaism :In Rabbinic Judaism, atonement is achieved through some combination of*repentance*Temple service Atonement in Judaism is the process of causing a transgression to be forgiven or...

 and repentance
Repentance in Judaism
Repentance in Judaism known as teshuva , is the way of atoning for sin in Judaism.According to Gates of Repentance, a standard work of Jewish ethics written by Rabbenu Yonah of Gerona, if someone commits a sin, a forbidden act, he can be forgiven for that sin if he performs teshuva, which...

. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting
Ta'anit
A ta'anit or taanis or taʿanith in Classical Hebrew is a fast in Judaism in which one abstains from all food and drink, including water...

 and intensive prayer
Jewish services
Jewish prayer are the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book....

, often spending most of the day in synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 as the High Holy Days
High Holy Days
The High Holidays or High Holy Days, in Judaism, more properly known as the Yamim Noraim , may mean:#strictly, the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur ;...

 or Yamim Nora'im ("Days of Awe").

Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei
Tishrei
Tishrei or Tishri , Tiberian: ; from Akkadian "Beginning", from "To begin") is the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year in the Hebrew calendar. The name of the month is Babylonian. It is an autumn month of 30 days...

.
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Encyclopedia
Yom Kippur also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

. Its central themes are atonement
Atonement in Judaism
Atonement in Judaism is the process of causing a transgression to be forgiven or pardoned.- In Rabbinic Judaism :In Rabbinic Judaism, atonement is achieved through some combination of*repentance*Temple service Atonement in Judaism is the process of causing a transgression to be forgiven or...

 and repentance
Repentance in Judaism
Repentance in Judaism known as teshuva , is the way of atoning for sin in Judaism.According to Gates of Repentance, a standard work of Jewish ethics written by Rabbenu Yonah of Gerona, if someone commits a sin, a forbidden act, he can be forgiven for that sin if he performs teshuva, which...

. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting
Ta'anit
A ta'anit or taanis or taʿanith in Classical Hebrew is a fast in Judaism in which one abstains from all food and drink, including water...

 and intensive prayer
Jewish services
Jewish prayer are the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book....

, often spending most of the day in synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 as the High Holy Days
High Holy Days
The High Holidays or High Holy Days, in Judaism, more properly known as the Yamim Noraim , may mean:#strictly, the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur ;...

 or Yamim Nora'im ("Days of Awe").

Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei
Tishrei
Tishrei or Tishri , Tiberian: ; from Akkadian "Beginning", from "To begin") is the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year in the Hebrew calendar. The name of the month is Babylonian. It is an autumn month of 30 days...

. According to Jewish tradition, God
Names of God in Judaism
In Judaism, the name of God is more than a distinguishing title; it represents the Jewish conception of the divine nature, and of the relationship of God to the Jewish people and to the world. To demonstrate the sacredness of the names of God, and as a means of showing respect and reverence for...

 inscribes each person's fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah , , is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im which occur in the autumn...

, and waits until Yom Kippur to "seal" the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one considers oneself absolved by God.

The Yom Kippur prayer service includes several unique aspects. One is the actual number of prayer services. Unlike a regular day, which has three prayer services (Ma'ariv, the evening prayer; Shacharit, the morning prayer; and Mincha, the afternoon prayer), or a Shabbat
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

 or Yom Tov, which have four prayer services (Ma'ariv; Shacharit; Mussaf, the additional prayer; and Mincha), Yom Kippur has five prayer services (Ma'ariv; Shacharit; Musaf; Mincha; and Ne'ilah, the closing prayer). The prayer services also include a public confession of sins (Vidui) and a unique prayer dedicated to the special Yom Kippur avodah (service) of the Kohen Gadol
Kohen Gadol
The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

 in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

.

As one of the most culturally significant Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur is observed by many secular Jews
Secular Jewish culture
Secular Jewish culture embraces several related phenomena; above all, it is the international culture of secular communities of Jewish people, but it can also include the cultural contributions of individuals who identify as secular Jews...

 who may not observe other holidays. Many secular Jews attend synagogue on Yom Kippur—for many secular Jews the High Holy Days are the only recurring times of the year in which they attend synagogue,—causing synagogue attendance to soar.

Etymology


Yom means "day" in Hebrew and Kippur comes from a root that means "to cover or hide"; a secondary meaning is "to obliterate (sin)" and hence "to expiate". Thus Yom Kippur has come to mean "day of atonement". Some say there is a link to kapporet, the “mercy seat” or covering of the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

. Abraham Ibn Ezra
Abraham ibn Ezra
Rabbi Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra was born at Tudela, Navarre in 1089, and died c. 1167, apparently in Calahorra....

 holds that the word indicates the task and not just the shape of the ark cover; since the blood of the Yom Kippur sacrifice was sprinkled in its direction (Lev. 16), it was the symbol of propitiation.

Preceding day


Erev Yom Kippur (lit. "eve [of] day [of] atonement") is the day preceding Yom Kippur, corresponding to the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei
Tishrei
Tishrei or Tishri , Tiberian: ; from Akkadian "Beginning", from "To begin") is the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year in the Hebrew calendar. The name of the month is Babylonian. It is an autumn month of 30 days...

. This day is commemorated with two festive meals, the giving of charity
Tzedakah
Tzedakah or Ṣ'daqah in Classical Hebrew is a Hebrew word commonly translated as charity, though it is based on the Hebrew word meaning righteousness, fairness or justice...

, and asking others for forgiveness.

General observances


mandates establishment of this holy day on the 10th day of the 7th month as the day of atonement for sins. It calls it the Sabbath of Sabbaths and a day upon which one must afflict one's soul.

decrees that Yom Kippur is a strict day of rest.

Five additional prohibitions are traditionally observed, as detailed in the Jewish oral tradition
Oral Torah
The Oral Torah comprises the legal and interpretative traditions that, according to tradition, were transmitted orally from Mount Sinai, and were not written in the Torah...

 (Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

tractate Yoma
Yoma
Yoma is the fifth tractate of Seder Moed of the Mishnah and of the Talmud. It is concerned mainly with the laws of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, on which Jews atone for their sins from the previous year...

8:1)

The number five is a set number, relating to:
  1. In the Yom Kippur section of the Torah, the word soul appears five times.

  2. Soul, in the Torah
    Torah
    Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

     is known by five separate names: soul, wind, spirit, living one and unique one.

  3. Unlike regular days, which have three prayer services, Yom Kippur has five- Maariv
    Maariv
    Maariv is a Hebrew language daily newspaper published in Israel. It is second in sales after Yedioth Ahronoth and third in readership after Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel HaYom. In a TGI survey comparing the last half of 2009 with the same period in 2008, Maariv saw its market share fall slightly...

    , Shacharis, Mussaf
    Mussaf
    Mussaf is an additional service that is recited on Shabbat, Yom Tov, Chol Hamoed, and Rosh Chodesh. The service, which is traditionally combined with the Shacharit in synagogues, is considered to be additional to the regular services of Shacharit, Mincha, and Maariv.During the days of the Holy...

    , Minchah and Neilah

  4. The Kohen Gadol
    Kohen Gadol
    The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

    , rinsed himself in the mikveh five times on Yom Kippur.

The traditions are as follows:
  1. No eating and drinking
  2. No wearing of leather shoes
  3. No bathing
    Bathing
    Bathing is the washing or cleansing of the body in a fluid, usually water or an aqueous solution. It may be practised for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes or as a recreational activity....

     or washing
    Washing
    Washing is one way of cleaning, namely with water and often some kind of soap or detergent. Washing is an essential part of good hygiene and health....

  4. No anointing
    Anointing
    To anoint is to pour or smear with perfumed oil, milk, water, melted butter or other substances, a process employed ritually by many religions. People and things are anointed to symbolize the introduction of a sacramental or divine influence, a holy emanation, spirit, power or God...

     oneself with perfumes or lotions
  5. No marital relations
    Sexual intercourse
    Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...


A parallel has been drawn between these activities and the human condition according to the Biblical account of the expulsion from the garden of Eden. Refraining from these symbolically represents a return to a pristine state, which is the theme of the day. By refraining from these activities, the body is uncomfortable but can still survive. The soul is considered to be the life force in a body. Therefore, by making one’s body uncomfortable, one’s soul is uncomfortable. By feeling pain one can feel how others feel when they are in pain. This is the purpose of the prohibitions. 


Total abstention from food and drink usually begins 20 minutes before sundown
Sunset
Sunset or sundown is the daily disappearance of the Sun below the horizon in the west as a result of Earth's rotation.The time of sunset is defined in astronomy as the moment the trailing edge of the Sun's disk disappears below the horizon in the west...

 (called tosefet Yom Kippur, lit. "Addition to Yom Kippur"), and ends after nightfall
Dusk
Dusk is the beginning of darkness in the evening, and occurs after twilight, when the sky generally remains bright and blue. Civil dusk is when the earth has rotated enough that the center of the sun is at 6° below the local horizon...

 the following day. Although the fast is required of all healthy adults, it is waived in the case of certain medical conditions.

Virtually all Jewish holidays involve a ritual feast, but since Yom Kippur involves fasting, Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 requires one to eat a large and festive meal on the afternoon before Yom Kippur, after the Mincha
Mincha
Mincha, מנחה is the afternoon prayer service in Judaism.-Etymology:The name "Mincha" is derived from the meal offering that accompanied each sacrifice.-Origin:...

(afternoon) prayer.

Wearing white clothing, for men a Kittel
Kittel
right|180pxA kittel, also spelled kitl, coat’) is a white robe which serves as a burial shroud for male Jews. It is also worn on special occasions by Ashkenazi Jews. In western Europe this garment is called a Sargenes. The word Sargenes is related to the Old French Serge as well as Latin Serica...

, is traditional to symbolize one’s purity on this day. Many Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 men immerse themselves in a mikveh on the day before Yom Kippur.

In order to apologize to God, one must:

  1. Pray
  2. Repent

  3. Give to charity


Eve


Before sunset on Yom Kippur eve, worshippers gather in the synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

. The Ark
Ark (synagogue)
The Torah ark or ark in a synagogue is known in Hebrew as the Aron Kodesh by the Ashkenazim and as the Hekhál amongst most Sefardim. It is generally a receptacle, or ornamental closet, which contains each synagogue's Torah scrolls...

 is opened and two people take from it two Sifrei Torah
Sefer Torah
A Sefer Torah of Torah” or “Torah scroll”) is a handwritten copy of the Torah or Pentateuch, the holiest book within Judaism. It must meet extremely strict standards of production. The Torah scroll is mainly used in the ritual of Torah reading during Jewish services...

 (Torah scrolls). Then they take their places, one on each side of the Hazzan
Hazzan
A hazzan or chazzan is a Jewish cantor, a musician trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer.There are many rules relating to how a cantor should lead services, but the idea of a cantor as a paid professional does not exist in classical rabbinic sources...

, and the three recite (in Hebrew):

"In the tribunal of Heaven and the tribunal of earth, by the permission of God—praised be He—and by the permission of this holy congregation, we hold it lawful to pray with transgressors."


The cantor then chants the Kol Nidre
Kol Nidre
Kol Nidre is an Aramaic declaration recited in the synagogue before the beginning of the evening service on every Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement...

 prayer (Hebrew: כל נדרי) in Aramaic, not Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

. Its name is taken from the opening words, meaning "All vows":

"All personal vows we are likely to make, all personal oaths and pledges we are likely to take between this Yom Kippur and the next Yom Kippur, we publicly renounce. Let them all be relinquished and abandoned, null and void, neither firm nor established. Let our personal vows, pledges and oaths be considered neither vows nor pledges nor oaths."


The leader and the congregation then say together three times "May all the people of Israel be forgiven, including all the strangers who live in their midst, for all the people are in fault." The Torah scrolls are then replaced, and the Yom Kippur evening service begins.

Prayer services


Many married men wear a kittel
Kittel
right|180pxA kittel, also spelled kitl, coat’) is a white robe which serves as a burial shroud for male Jews. It is also worn on special occasions by Ashkenazi Jews. In western Europe this garment is called a Sargenes. The word Sargenes is related to the Old French Serge as well as Latin Serica...

, a white robe-like garment for evening prayers on Yom Kippur, otherwise used by males on their wedding day. They also wear a tallit
Tallit
A tallit pl. tallitot is a Jewish prayer shawl. The tallit is worn over the outer clothes during the morning prayers on weekdays, Shabbat and holidays...

 (prayer shawl), which is typically worn only during morning services.

Prayer services begin with the Kol Nidrei prayer, which must be recited before sunset, and continue with the evening prayers (Ma'ariv or Arvith), which includes an extended Selichot
Selichot
Selichot or slichot are Jewish penitential poems and prayers, especially those said in the period leading up to the High Holidays, and on Fast Days...

 service.

The morning prayer service is preceded by litanies and petitions of forgiveness called selichot; on Yom Kippur, many selichot are woven into the liturgy of the mahzor
Mahzor
The mahzor is the prayer book used by Jews on the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Many Jews also make use of specialized mahzorim on the three "pilgrimage festivals" of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot...

 (prayer book). The morning prayers are followed by an added prayer (Mussaf) as on all other holidays. This is followed by Mincha (the afternoon prayer) which includes a reading (Haftarah
Haftarah
The haftarah or haftoroh is a series of selections from the books of Nevi'im of the Hebrew Bible that is publicly read in synagogue as part of Jewish religious practice...

) of the entire Book of Jonah
Book of Jonah
The Book of Jonah is a book in the Hebrew Bible. It tells the story of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah ben Amittai who is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh but tries to escape the divine mission...

, which has as its theme the story of God's willingness to forgive those who repent.

The service concludes with the Ne'ila
Ne'ila
Ne'ila, the concluding service, is a special Jewish prayer service that is held only on Yom Kippur. It is the time when final prayers of repentance are recited at the closing of Yom Kippur....

("closing") prayer, which begins shortly before sunset, when the "gates of prayer" will be closed. Yom Kippur comes to an end with a recitation of Shema Yisrael
Shema Yisrael
Shema Yisrael are the first two words of a section of the Torah that is a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services...

and the blowing of the shofar
Shofar
A shofar is a horn, traditionally that of a ram, used for Jewish religious purposes. Shofar-blowing is incorporated in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.Shofar come in a variety of sizes.- Bible and rabbinic literature :...

, which marks the conclusion of the fast.

Avodah: remembering the Temple service


A recitation of the sacrificial service of the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

 traditionally features prominently in both the liturgy and the religious thought of the holiday. Specifically, the Avodah (“service”) in the musaf prayer recounts in great detail the sacrificial ceremonies of the Yom Kippur Korban
Korban
The term offering as found in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the worship of Ancient Israel is mainly represented by the Hebrew noun korban whether for an animal or other offering...

ot (sacrificial offerings) that are recited in the prayers but have not been performed for 2,000 years, since the destruction of the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 in Jerusalem by the Romans.

This traditional prominence is rooted in the Babylonian Talmud’s description of how to attain atonement following the destruction of the Temple. According to Talmud tractate Yoma
Yoma
Yoma is the fifth tractate of Seder Moed of the Mishnah and of the Talmud. It is concerned mainly with the laws of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, on which Jews atone for their sins from the previous year...

, in the absence of a Temple, Jews are obligated to study the High Priest’s ritual on Yom Kippur, and this study helps achieve atonement for those who are unable to benefit from its actual performance. In Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

, accordingly, studying the Temple ritual on Yom Kippur represents a positive rabbinically ordained obligation which Jews seeking atonement are required to fulfill.

In Orthodox synagogues, most Conservative
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

, and some progressive
Progressive Judaism
Progressive Judaism , is an umbrella term used by strands of Judaism which affiliate to the World Union for Progressive Judaism. They embrace pluralism, modernity, equality and social justice as core values and believe that such values are consistent with a committed Jewish life...

 a detailed description of the Temple ritual is recited on the day. In most Orthodox and some Conservative synagogues, the entire congregation prostrates
Prostration
Prostration is the placement of the body in a reverentially or submissively prone position. Major world religions employ prostration either as a means of embodying reverence for a noble person, persons or doctrine, or as an act of submissiveness to a supreme being or beings...

 themselves at each point in the recitation where the Kohen Gadol
Kohen Gadol
The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

 (High Priest) would pronounce the Tetragrammaton
Tetragrammaton
The term Tetragrammaton refers to the name of the God of Israel YHWH used in the Hebrew Bible.-Hebrew Bible:...

 (God’s holiest name, according to Judaism).

The main section of the Avodah is a threefold recitation of the High Priest’s actions regarding expiation in the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur...

. Performing the sacrificial acts and reciting , (“Your upright children”). (These three times, plus in some congregations the Aleinu
Aleinu
Aleinu or Aleinu leshabei'ach , meaning "it is upon us or it is our obligation or duty to praise God," is a Jewish prayer found in the siddur, the classical Jewish prayerbook. It is recited at the end of each of the three daily Jewish services...

prayer during the Musaf Amidah
Amidah
The Amidah , also called the Shmoneh Esreh , is the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy. This prayer, among others, is found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book...

 on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah , , is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im which occur in the autumn...

, are the only times in Jewish services
Jewish services
Jewish prayer are the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book....

 when Jews engage in prostration, with the exception of some Yemenite Jews
Yemenite Jews
Yemenite Jews are those Jews who live, or whose recent ancestors lived, in Yemen . Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet...

 and talmedhei haRambam
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

(disciples of Maimonides) who may prostrate themselves on other occasions during the year). A variety of liturgical poems are added, including a poem recounting the radiance of the countenance of the Kohen Gadol
Kohen Gadol
The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

 after exiting the Holy of Holies, traditionally believed to emit palpable light in a manner echoing the Torah's account of the countenance of Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 after descending from Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...

, as well as prayers for the speedy rebuilding of the Temple and the restoration of sacrificial worship
Korban
The term offering as found in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the worship of Ancient Israel is mainly represented by the Hebrew noun korban whether for an animal or other offering...

. There are a variety of other customs, such as hand gestures to mime the sprinkling of blood (one sprinkling upwards and seven downwards per set of eight).

Orthodox liturgies include prayers lamenting the inability to perform the Temple service and petitioning for its restoration, which Conservative synagogues generally omit. In some Conservative synagogues, only the Hazzan
Hazzan
A hazzan or chazzan is a Jewish cantor, a musician trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer.There are many rules relating to how a cantor should lead services, but the idea of a cantor as a paid professional does not exist in classical rabbinic sources...

(cantor) engages in full prostration. Some Conservative synagogues abridge the recitation of the Avodah service to varying degrees, and some omit it entirely. Many Reform
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 and Reconstructionist
Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern American-based Jewish movement based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan . The movement views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization. It originated as a branch of Conservative Judaism, before it splintered...

 services omit the entire service as inconsistent with modern sensibilities.

Date of Yom Kippur


Yom Kippur falls each year on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, which is 9 days after the first day of Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah , , is the Jewish New Year. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Nora'im which occur in the autumn...

. In terms of the Gregorian calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

, the earliest date on which Yom Kippur can fall is September 14, as happened in 1899 and will happen again in 2013. The latest Yom Kippur can occur relative to the Gregorian dates is on October 14, as happened in 1967 and will happen again in 2043. After 2089, the differences between the Hebrew calendar and the Gregorian calendar will result in Yom Kippur falling no earlier than September 15. Gregorian calendar dates for upcoming Yom Kippur holidays are:
  • 2011 – Saturday 8 October
  • 2012 – Wednesday, 26 September
  • 2013 – Saturday 14 September
  • 2014 – Saturday 4 October
  • 2015 – Wednesday 23 September


Note: Yom Kippur begins at sundown of the previous day in the Gregorian calendar (e.g. 7 October 2011).

In the Torah


The Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 calls the day Yom HaKippurim (יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים) and in it decrees a strict prohibition of work and affliction of the appetite (נפש means soul or appetite) upon the tenth day of the seventh month, later known as Tishrei
Tishrei
Tishrei or Tishri , Tiberian: ; from Akkadian "Beginning", from "To begin") is the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year in the Hebrew calendar. The name of the month is Babylonian. It is an autumn month of 30 days...

. The laws of Yom Kippur are mentioned in three passages in the Torah:
  1. : God told Moses
    Moses
    Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

     to tell Aaron
    Aaron
    In the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, Aaron : Ααρών ), who is often called "'Aaron the Priest"' and once Aaron the Levite , was the older brother of Moses, and a prophet of God. He represented the priestly functions of his tribe, becoming the first High Priest of the Israelites...

     that he can only enter the sanctuary in front of the cover that is on the ark when God is present on the cover in a cloud. If Aaron
    Aaron
    In the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, Aaron : Ααρών ), who is often called "'Aaron the Priest"' and once Aaron the Levite , was the older brother of Moses, and a prophet of God. He represented the priestly functions of his tribe, becoming the first High Priest of the Israelites...

     is to enter otherwise, he will die . On the tenth day of the seventh month, God said that the people must not work in order to cleanse and atone for their sins. The Kohen
    Kohen
    A Kohen is the Hebrew word for priest. Jewish Kohens are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the Biblical Aaron....

     will lead in the atonement of all the people.

  1. : God said to Moses
    Moses
    Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

     that the tenth day of the month is the day of atonement and will be holy. The people must give a fire-offering to God and must not work. God told Moses
    Moses
    Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

     that whoever does work, God will rid of the soul from its people. This is a day of complete rest from the evening of the ninth day of the month to the following evening.


  1. : The tenth day of the seventh month is a holy day and one must not work. For an elevation offering, one must sacrifice a young bull, a ram and seven lambs who are a year old. As well, for a sin offering, one must sacrifice a male goat.


Midrashic interpretation


The midrashim described in this section need sources cited from Midrashic literature

Traditionally, Yom Kippur is considered the date on which Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 received the second set of Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

. It occurred following the completion of the second 40 days of instructions from God. At this same time, the Israelites were granted atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf
Golden calf
According to the Hebrew Bible, the golden calf was an idol made by Aaron to satisfy the Israelites during Moses' absence, when he went up to Mount Sinai...

; hence, its designation as the Day of Atonement.

Temple service


The following summary of the Temple service is based on the traditional Jewish religious account described in Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 tractate Yoma
Yoma
Yoma is the fifth tractate of Seder Moed of the Mishnah and of the Talmud. It is concerned mainly with the laws of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, on which Jews atone for their sins from the previous year...

, appearing in contemporary traditional Jewish prayer books for Yom Kippur, and studied as part of a traditional Jewish Yom Kippur worship service.

While the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

 was standing (from Biblical times through 70 C.E.), the Kohen Gadol
Kohen Gadol
The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

 (High Priest) was mandated by the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 to perform a complex set of special services and sacrifices for Yom Kippur to attain Divine atonement, the word "kippur" meaning "atone" in Hebrew. These services were considered to be the most important parts of Yom Kippur because through them the Kohen Gadol made atonement for all Jews and the world. During the service, the Kohen Gadol entered the Holy of Holies
Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur...

 in the center of the Temple, the only time of the year that anyone went inside. Doing so required special purification and preparation, including five immersions in a mikvah
Mikvah
Mikveh is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism...

(ritual bath), and four changes of clothing.

Seven days prior to Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol was sequestered in the Palhedrin chamber in the Temple, where he reviewed (studied) the service with the sages familiar with the Temple, and was sprinkled with spring water containing ashes of the Red Heifer
Red heifer
The red heifer or red cow was a sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible the ashes of which are used for the ritual purification of an ancient Israelite who had come into contact with a corpse.- Hebrew Bible :...

 as purification. The Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 (Tractate Yoma
Yoma
Yoma is the fifth tractate of Seder Moed of the Mishnah and of the Talmud. It is concerned mainly with the laws of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, on which Jews atone for their sins from the previous year...

) also reports that he practiced the incense offering ritual in the Avitnas chamber.

On the day of Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol had to follow a precise order of services, sacrifices, and purifications:
  • Morning (Tamid) Offering The Kohen Gadol first performed the regular daily (Tamid) offering — usually performed by ordinary priests — in special golden garments, after immersing in a mikvah
    Mikvah
    Mikveh is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism...

    and washing his hands and feet.
  • Garment Change 1 The Kohen Gadol immersed in a special mikvah in the Temple courtyard and changed into special linen garments, and washed his hands and feet twice, once after removing the golden garments and once before putting on the linen garments.
  • Bull as Personal Sin-Offering The Kohen Gadol leaned (performed Semikha
    Semicha in sacrifices
    Semicha in sacrifices was the placing/leaning [of the hands] before the offering of a korban in the Temple in Jerusalem...

    )
    and made a confession over the bull on behalf of himself and his household, pronouncing the Tetragrammaton
    Tetragrammaton
    The term Tetragrammaton refers to the name of the God of Israel YHWH used in the Hebrew Bible.-Hebrew Bible:...

    . The people prostrated themselves when they heard. He then slaughtered the bull as a chatat (sin-offering) and received its blood in a bowl.
  • Lottery of the goats At the Eastern (Nikanor) gate, the Kohen Gadol drew lots from a lottery box over two goat
    Goat
    The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

    s. One was selected “for the Lord,” and one “for Azazel
    Azazel
    Azazel or Azazael or Azâzêl is a term used three times in the Hebrew scriptures, and later in Hebrew mythology as the enigmatic name of a character....

    .” The Kohen Gadol tied a red band around the horns of the goat “for Azazel
    Azazel
    Azazel or Azazael or Azâzêl is a term used three times in the Hebrew scriptures, and later in Hebrew mythology as the enigmatic name of a character....

    .”
  • Incense Preparation The Kohen Gadol ascended the mizbeach (altar) and took a shovel full of ember
    Ember
    Embers are the glowing, hot coals made of greatly heated wood, coal, or other carbon-based material that remain after, or sometimes precede a fire. Embers can glow very hot, sometimes as hot as the fire which created them...

    s with a special shovel. He was brought incense
    Incense
    Incense is composed of aromatic biotic materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned. The term "incense" refers to the substance itself, rather than to the odor that it produces. It is used in religious ceremonies, ritual purification, aromatherapy, meditation, for creating a mood, and for...

    . He filled his hands and placed it in a vessel. (The Talmud
    Talmud
    The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

    considered this the most physically difficult part of the service, as the Kohen Gadol had to keep the shovelful of glowing coal
    Coal
    Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

    s balanced and prevent its contents from dropping, using his armpit or teeth, while filling his hands with the incense).
  • Incense Offering Holding the shovel and the vessel, he entered the Kadosh Hakadashim, the Temple’s Holy of Holies
    Holy of Holies
    The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur...

    . In the days of the First Temple, he placed the shovel between the poles of the Ark of the Covenant
    Ark of the Covenant
    The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

    . In the days of the Second Temple
    Second Temple
    The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

    , he put the shovel where the Ark would have been. He waited until the chamber filled with smoke and left.
  • Sprinkling of Bull's Blood in the Holy of Holies The Kohen Gadol took the bowl with the bull’s blood and entered the Most Holy Place again. He sprinkled the bull’s blood with his finger eight times, before the Ark in the days of the First Temple, where it would have been in the days of the Second. The Kohen Gadol then left the Holy of Holies, putting the bowl on a stand in front of the Parochet
    Parochet
    Parochet is the curtain on the front of the Aron Kodesh in a synagogue that covers the Sifrei Torah...

     (curtain separating the Holy from the Holy of Holies).
  • Goat for the Lord as Sin-Offering for Kohanim
    Kohen
    A Kohen is the Hebrew word for priest. Jewish Kohens are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the Biblical Aaron....

    The Kohen Gadol went to the eastern end of the Israelite courtyard near the Nikanor Gate, laid his hands (semikha
    Semicha in sacrifices
    Semicha in sacrifices was the placing/leaning [of the hands] before the offering of a korban in the Temple in Jerusalem...

    ) on the goat “for the Lord,” and pronounced confession
    Confession
    This article is for the religious practice of confessing one's sins.Confession is the acknowledgment of sin or wrongs...

     on behalf of the Kohanim (priests). The people prostrated themselves when he pronounced the Tetragrammaton. He then slaughtered the goat, and received its blood in another bowl.
  • Sprinkling of Goat’s Blood in the Holy of Holies The Kohen Gadol took the bowl with the goat’s blood and entered the Kadosh Hakadashim, the Temple’s Holy of Holies
    Holy of Holies
    The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem where the Ark of the Covenant was kept during the First Temple, which could be entered only by the High Priest on Yom Kippur...

     again. He sprinkled the goat’s blood with his finger eight times the same way he had sprinkled the bull’s blood. The blood was sprinkled before the Ark in the days of the First Temple, where it would have been in the days of the Second Temple. The Kohen Gadol then left the Kadosh Hakadashim, putting the bowl on a stand in front of the Parochet
    Parochet
    Parochet is the curtain on the front of the Aron Kodesh in a synagogue that covers the Sifrei Torah...

     (curtain separating the Holy from the Holy of Holies).
  • Sprinkling of blood in the Holy Standing in the Hekhal
    Hekhal
    The Hebrew noun hekhal in Classical Hebrew means a large building. This can be either the main building of the Temple in Jerusalem, that is the nave or sanctuary of the Temple, or a palace, such as the "palace" of Ahab king of Samaria, or the "palace" of the King of Babylon.-Usage:It is used 80...

    (Holy), on the other side of the Parochet from the Holy of Holies, the Kohen Gadol took the bull's blood from the stand and sprinkled it with his finger eight times in the direction of the Parochet. He then took the bowl with the goat's blood and sprinkled it eight times in the same manner, putting it back on the stand.
  • Smearing of blood on the Golden (Incense) Altar The Kohen Gadol removed the goat’s blood from the stand and mixed it with the bull's blood. Starting at the northeast corner, he then smeared the mixture of blood on each of the four corners of the Golden (Incense) altar in the Haichal. He then sprinkled the blood eight times on the altar.

  • Goat for Azazel The Kohen Gadol left the Haichal and walked to the east side of the Azarah (Israelite courtyard). Near the Nikanor Gate, he leaned his hands (Semikha) on the goat “for Azazel” and confessed the sins of the entire people of Israel. The people prostrated themselves when he pronounced the Tetragrammaton. While he made a general confession, individuals in the crowd at the Temple would confess privately. The Kohen Gadol then sent the goat off “to the wilderness.” In practice, to prevent its return to human habitation, the goat was led to a cliff outside Jerusalem and pushed off its edge.
  • Preparation of sacrificial animals While the goat “for Azazel” was being led to the cliff, the Kohen Gadol removed the insides of the bull, and intertwined the bodies of the bull and goat. Other people took the bodies to the Beit HaDeshen (place of the ashes). They were burned there after it was confirmed that the goat “for Azazel” had reached the wilderness.
  • Reading the Torah After it was confirmed that the goat “for Azazel” had been pushed off the cliff, the Kohen Gadol passed through the Nikanor Gate into the Ezrat Nashim (Women’s Courtyard) and read sections of the Torah describing Yom Kippur and its sacrifice
    Korban
    The term offering as found in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the worship of Ancient Israel is mainly represented by the Hebrew noun korban whether for an animal or other offering...

    s.
  • Garment change 2 The Kohen Gadol removed his linen garments, immersed in the mikvah in the Temple courtyard, and changed into a second set of special golden garments. He washed his hands and feet both before removing the linen garments and after putting on the golden ones.
  • Offering of Rams The Kohen Gadol offered two rams as an olah offering, slaughtering them on the north side of the mizbeach (outer altar), receiving their blood in a bowl, carrying the bowl to the outer altar, and dashing the blood on the northeast and southwest corners of the Outer Altar. He dismembered the rams and burned the parts entirely on the outer altar. He then offered the accompanying mincha
    Mincha
    Mincha, מנחה is the afternoon prayer service in Judaism.-Etymology:The name "Mincha" is derived from the meal offering that accompanied each sacrifice.-Origin:...

    (grain) offerings and nesachim (wine-libations).
  • Musaf Offering The Kohen Gadol then offered the Musaf offering.
  • Burning of Innards The Kohen Gadol placed the insides of the bull and goat on the outer altar and burned them entirely.
  • *Garment change 3 The Kohen Gadol removed his golden garments, immersed in the mikvah, and changed to a new set of linen garments, again washing his hands and feet twice.
  • Removal of Incense from the Holy of Holies The Kohen Gadol returned to the Holy of Holies and removed the bowl of incense and the shovel.
  • Garment Change 4 The Kohen Gadol removed his linen garments, immersed in the mikvah, and changed into a third set of golden garments, again washing his hands and feet twice.
  • Evening (Tamid) Offering The Kohen Gadol completed the afternoon portion of the regular (tamid) daily offering in the special golden garments. He washed his hands and feet a tenth time.


The Kohen Gadol wore five sets of garments (three golden and two white linen), immersed in the mikvah five times, and washed his hands and feet ten times. Sacrifices included two (daily) lambs, one bull, two goats, and two rams, with accompanying mincha (meal) offerings, wine libations, and three incense offerings (the regular two daily and an additional one for Yom Kippur). The Kohen Gadol entered the Holy of Holies three times. The Tetragrammaton was pronounced three times, once for each confession.

Observance in Israel


Yom Kippur is a legal holiday in the modern state of Israel. There are no radio or television broadcasts, airports are shut down, there is no public transportation, and all shops and businesses are closed. In 1973, an air raid siren was sounded on the afternoon of Yom Kippur and radio broadcasts were resumed to alert the public to the surprise attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria that launched the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

.

In 2008, 63% of the Jewish people of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 said that they were intending to fast on Yom Kippur. This may be the reason that it is very common in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 to wish "Tsom Kal" ([an] easy fast) or "Tsom Mo'iil" ([an] efficient fast) to everyone before Yom Kippur, even if one does not know whether they will fast or not.

It is considered impolite to eat in public on Yom Kippur or to drive a motor vehicle. There is no legal prohibition on driving or eating in public but in practice such actions are frowned upon, except in emergency services.

Over the last few decades, bicycle-riding and inline skating on the empty streets have become more common among secular Israeli
Secular Jewish culture
Secular Jewish culture embraces several related phenomena; above all, it is the international culture of secular communities of Jewish people, but it can also include the cultural contributions of individuals who identify as secular Jews...

 youngsters, especially on the eve of Yom Kippur.

Observance by athletes


Some notable athletes have observed Yom Kippur, even when it conflicted with their playing their sport.

In baseball, Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax
Sanford "Sandy" Koufax is a former left-handed baseball pitcher who played his entire 12-year Major League Baseball career for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers...

, the Hall of Fame pitcher
Pitcher
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throwsthe baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the...

, decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series
1965 World Series
The 1965 World Series featured the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers against the American League champion Minnesota Twins, who had won their first pennant since 1933 when the team was known as the Washington Senators...

 because it fell on Yom Kippur. Koufax garnered national attention for his decision, as an example of the conflict between social pressures and personal beliefs. When pitcher Don Drysdale took Koufax's place and fared poorly, giving up seven runs in 2-2/3 innings, he told his manager as he was pulled from the game: "I bet right now you wish I was Jewish, too." President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 reflected years later how well known Koufax's decision not to play on Yom Kippur was, saying humorously that he had "something in common" with Koufax: "He can't pitch on Yom Kippur. I can't pitch."

Hall of Fame first baseman
First baseman
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner in order to score a run for that player's team...

 Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg
Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg , nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank" or "The Hebrew Hammer," was an American professional baseball player in the 1930s and 1940s. A first baseman primarily for the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg was one of the premier power hitters of his generation...

 attracted national attention in 1934
1934 in baseball
-Major League Baseball:*World Series: St. Louis Cardinals over Detroit Tigers *All-Star Game, July 10 at Polo Grounds: American League, 9-7-Awards and honors:*Most Valuable Player:**American League: Mickey Cochrane, Detroit Tigers, C...

, nearly three decades earlier, when he refused to play baseball on Yom Kippur, even though the Tigers were in the middle of a pennant race and Greenberg was not a religious Jew. The Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Free Press is the largest daily newspaper in Detroit, Michigan, USA. The Sunday edition is entitled the Sunday Free Press. It is sometimes informally referred to as the "Freep"...

columnist and poet Edgar A. Guest wrote a poem titled "Speaking of Greenberg," which ended with the lines "We shall miss him on the infield and shall miss him at the bat / But he's true to his religion—and I honor him for that." When Greenberg arrived in synagogue on Yom Kippur, the service stopped suddenly, and the congregation gave an embarrassed Greenberg a standing ovation.

Former Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays are a professional baseball team located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball 's American League ....

 outfielder Shawn Green
Shawn Green
Shawn David Green is a former Major League Baseball player.Green was a 1st round draft pick and a two-time major league All-Star...

, similarly, made headlines in 2001 for sitting out a game for the first time in 415 games, to honor Yom Kippur, even though his team was in the middle of a playoff race. Other baseball players who have similarly sat out games on Yom Kippur include Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 first baseman Kevin Youkilis
Kevin Youkilis
Kevin Edmund Youkilis , also known as "Youk" , is an American professional baseball player with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball...

, former Houston Astros
Houston Astros
The Houston Astros are a Major League Baseball team located in Houston, Texas. They are a member of the National League Central division. The Astros are expected to join the American League West division in 2013. Since , they have played their home games at Minute Maid Park, known as Enron Field...

 catcher Brad Ausmus
Brad Ausmus
Bradley David "Brad" Ausmus is a former All Star catcher in Major League Baseball, and currently a special assistant for the San Diego Padres....

 and outfielder
Outfielder
Outfielder is a generic term applied to each of the people playing in the three defensive positions in baseball farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder...

 Art Shamsky
Art Shamsky
Arthur Louis Shamsky is a former Major League Baseball player. He played right field, left field, and first base from to for the Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, and Oakland Athletics. In he was the manager of the Modi'in Miracle of the Israel Baseball League.-Early life:Shamsky...

.

Gabe Carimi
Gabe Carimi
Gabe Carimi , nicknamed "The Bear Jew", is an American football offensive tackle for the Chicago Bears.Carimi had 49 starts at left tackle in his four-year Wisconsin Badgers college career, which culminated at the 2011 Rose Bowl. He was awarded the 2010 Outland Trophy, as the nation's top...

, the Consensus All-American left tackle in American football who won the 2010 Outland Trophy
Outland Trophy
The Outland Trophy is awarded to the best United States college football interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America. It is named after John H. Outland. One of only a few players ever to be named All-America at two positions, Outland garnered consensus All-America honors in...

 as the nation's top collegiate interior lineman faced a conflict in his freshman year of college in 2007. That year Yom Kippur fell on a Saturday, and he fasted until an hour before his football game against Iowa started that night. Carimi said, "Religion is a part of me, and I don't want to just say I'm Jewish. I actually do make sacrifices that I know are hard choices.” In 2004, Matt Bernstein
Matt Bernstein
Matt Bernstein is a former American football standout at University of Wisconsin–Madison, who is currently a free agent of the Arena Football League after a stint in the National Football League with the Detroit Lions. Inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2006...

, standout fullback at University of Wisconsin–Madison
Wisconsin Badgers football
The Wisconsin Badgers are a college football program that represents the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and the Big Ten Conference. They play their home games at Camp Randall Stadium, the fourth-oldest stadium in college football...

, fasted on Yom Kippur, then broke his fast on the sidelines before rushing for 123 yards in a game against Penn State.

Contemporary scholarship


According to textual scholars
Textual criticism
Textual criticism is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts...

, the biblical regulations covering Yom Kippur are spliced together from multiple source texts, as indicated by evidence such as with the duplication
Textual criticism
Textual criticism is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts...

 of the confession over the bullock, and the incongruity in one verse stating that the high priest should not enter the Holy of Holies (with the inference that there are exceptions for certain explicitly identified festivals), and the next verse indicating that they can enter whenever they wish (as long as a specific ritual is carried out first). Although Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

 tried to find a harmonistic explanation for this incongruity, the Leviticus Rabbah
Leviticus Rabbah
Leviticus Rabbah, Vayikrah Rabbah, or Wayiqra Rabbah is a homiletic midrash to the Biblical book of Leviticus . It is referred to by Nathan ben Jehiel in his Aruk as well as by Rashi in his commentaries on , and elsewhere. According to Leopold Zunz, Hai Gaon and Nissim knew and made use of it...

 maintains that it was indeed the case that the high priest could enter at any time if these rituals were carried out. Textual scholars argue that the ritual is composed from three sources, and a couple of redactional additions:
  • prerequisite rituals before the high priest can enter the Holy of Holies (on any occasion), namely a sin offering and a whole offering, followed by the filling of the Holy of Holies with a cloud of incense while wearing linen garments
  • regulations which establish an annual day of fasting and rest, during which the sanctuary and people are purified, without stating the ritual for doing so; this regulation is very similar to the one in the Holiness Code
  • later elaborations of the ceremony, which include the sprinkling of the blood on the mercy seat, and the use of a scapegoat sent to Azazel; the same source also being responsible for small alterations to related regulations
  • the redactional additions


On the basis of their assumptions, these scholars believe that the original ceremony was simply the ritual purification of the sanctuary from any accidental ritual impurity, at the start of each new year, as seen in the Book of Ezekiel
Book of Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and preceding the Book of the Twelve....

, which textual scholars date to before the priestly source
Priestly source
The Priestly Source is one of the sources of the Torah/Pentateuch in the bible. Primarily a product of the post-Exilic period when Judah was a province of the Persian empire , P was written to show that even when all seemed lost, God remained present with Israel...

, but after JE
JE
JE is a hypothetical intermediate source text of the Torah postulated by the DH. It is a combination and redaction of the Jahwist and Elohist source texts. According to this hypothesis, J was composed c. 950 BC, E was composed c. 850 BC, and the two were combined into JE c. 750 BC. JE was...

. According to the Book of Ezekiel, the sanctuary was to be cleansed by the sprinkling of bullock's blood, on the first day of the first and of the seventh months — near the start of the Civil year and of the Ecclesiastical year, respectively; although the masoretic text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

 of the Book of Ezekiel has the second of these cleansings on the seventh of the first month, biblical scholars regard the Septuagint, which has the second cleaning as being the first of the seventh month, as being more accurate here. It appears that during the period that the Holiness Code and the Book of Ezekiel were written, the new year began on the tenth day of the seventh month, and thus liberal biblical scholars believe that by the time the Priestly Code was compiled, the date of the new year and of the day of atonement had swapped around.

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