Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is the anniversary of an event that gives perspective and inspiration to each of us. At the birth of our Jewish history, our people left Egypt in victory and marched to Mount Sinai for the most glorious meeting in history – the morning when they saw the revelation and heard the Ten Commandments. Less than six weeks later, they were dancing around the Golden Calf and Moses smashed the tablets as he descended from the mountain. The Jewish nation was under the threatening sword of God’s anger as they betrayed his trust.

After weeks of prayer and repentance, God forgave Israel and Moses ascended the mountain again to receive the second set of tablets. This time upon his return, he was met by a joyous people who had been granted Divine forgiveness. The day Moses returned was the tenth of Tishrei. It was a day when God signified his forgiveness of a sin that still challenges our understanding. It is a day that echoes with the message that man is never hopeless, no matter how serious the sin. Man or woman may have alienated all their loved ones, all their friends, but God still awaits their repentance and longs to rejuvenate them. That day became the first Yom Kippur, the first Day of Atonement and God decided that the Tenth of Tishrei would be the annual day when he would turn his ear attentively to pleas, remorse and changes of heart.

Yom Kippur provides the opportunity to atone for sins against God. The observance of Yom Kippur does not automatically atone for sins against another human being until one has asked for forgiveness from the person offended.