By: William Jackson
Yom Kippur starts tonight at sunset. There are many traditions associated with this holiday but it is important to understand how the Torah tells us to observe it. These are 7 steps outlined in Leviticus that will keep us on track.
Purpose: On this day, atonement will be made for you to purify you; you will be clean before Adonai from all your sins (Lev. 16:30).
- A Permanent Regulation (Lev. 16:29, 31, 34. 23:30)
- You are to deny* yourselves (Lev. 16:29, 23:27, 29, 32)
- Not do any kind of work (Lev. 16:29, 23:28, 30)
- A Shabbat of complete rest (Lev. 16:31, 23:32)
- Have a holy convocation** (Lev. 23:27)
- You are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai (Lev. 23:27)
- You are to sound a blast on the shofar (Lev. 25:9)
* We often interpret “to deny yourself” as fasting but the word used is “Tə·‘an·nū” which means “you shall humble” or “ye shall afflict”. The route word is “anah” (6031) which means defile, humble, afflict, or deny. Conversely, the word “Tsom” (6685), means fasting, or too fast. I feel when we are denying ourselves we are removing distractors so that we can focus on atoning for our sins. I do not think it is an act of self-deprecation, it is an opportunity to remove ones diversions. We should be fasting from more than food this day.
**The word used is “Miqra” (4744) which means a convocation, convoking, or reading.
“G’mar Hatimah Tovah” May You Be Sealed for a Good Year (in the Book of Life).