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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yom Kippur’

Israelis Mark Yom Kippur with Prayers for Peace and Life

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

On the eve of Yom Kippur, Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu returned to Israel after speaking to the international community at the United Nations this past week. “I went out on a national mission on behalf of the citizens of Israel,” recounted Netanyahu. “I told our truth on the UN podium, at the White House and at other meetings that I held,” he said after landing at Ben Gurion Airport on Friday morning.

The prime minister also wished a “Gmar Hatima Tova to all the citizens of Israel,” the traditional blessing for the successful sealing in the Book of Life during the days leading up to Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people that entails praying and fasting.

During Netanayhu’s speech to the UN General Assembly, in which the prime minister recounted the dangers of militant Islam and a nuclear Iran, along with ISIS and Hamas caliphate ambitions, he also highlighted the 50 days of Gaza rocket fire on Israeli cities that ended just over six weeks ago.

“For 50 days this past summer, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, many of them supplied by Iran. As their families were being rocketed by Hamas, Israel’s citizen army – the brave soldiers of the IDF, our young boys and girls –upheld the highest moral values of any army in the world. Israel’s soldiers deserve not condemnation, but admiration,” said Netanyahu.

For Ilanit Swissa, a mother from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on the Gaza border, Yom Kippur is being marked by hopes for peace and quiet among residents of the secular kibbutz, which was under heavy Gaza rocket fire throughout the summer war. “We just hope that the calm will continue,” she told Tazpit News Agency. “That there will no longer be any threats to us in the coming year and that we will all be able to live on our border with Gaza in peace,” she said.

“We think of our reality today in a different way because of the recent war,” Yogev Trabelsy, father of three from Sderot told Tazpit. “The meaning of Yom Kippur takes on an added significance when we think of all the rockets that were fired and the people who were saved by miracles this summer.”

Yom Kippur Guide for the Perplexed, 2014‏

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

1. Yom Kippur commemorates God’s forgiveness for the sin of the Golden Calf and God’s covenant with the Jewish people.

2. Yom Kippur is a day of forgiveness only for sins committed against God. It is customary to dedicate the eve of Yom Kippur to apologies for sins committed against fellow human beings. However, an apology or compensation are not sufficient if they do not elicit an expressed forgiveness by the injured person. One is commanded to be community-sensitive and invite everyone, including transgressors, to participate in Yom Kippur services. Thus, Yom Kippur underlines unity, as synagogues become a platform for the righteous and the sinner.

3. Yom Kippur’s focus on seeking forgiveness highlights humility, fallibility, faith, soul-searching, compassion, thoughtfulness, being considerate, accepting responsibility and magnanimity. Speaking ill of other people (“evil tongue,” Le’shon Ha’Ra, in Hebrew) may not be forgiven.

4. Yom Kippur is a happy Jewish Holiday, replacing vindictiveness and rage with peace-of-mind and peaceful co-existence between God and human beings and, primarily, between human beings.

5. Yom Kippur is observed on the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, whose astrological sign is Libra (Libra). Libra symbolizes the key themes of Yom Kippur: scales, justice, balance, truth, symmetry, sensitivity and optimism. Libra is ruled by the planet Venus (Noga, נגה, in Hebrew), which reflects divine light and love of the other person. (Noga is the name of my oldest granddaughter). The numerical value of the Hebrew letters of נגה is 58 (נ-50, ג-3, ה-5), just like the numerical value of אזן, which is the Hebrew word for “ear,” as well as, the Hebrew root of “listening,” “balance” and “scale.”

6. Yom Kippur is observed on the tenth day of Tishrei – an Acadian word for forgiveness and Genesis. Ten has special significance in Judaism: God’s abbreviation is the tenth Hebrew letter (Yod – י); there are ten attributes of God – Divine perfection – which were highlighted during the Creation; the Ten Commandments; the Ten Plagues; there are ten reasons for blowing the Shofar; The Prayer of Veedooi – וידוי (confession/reaffirmation in Hebrew), is recited ten times during Yom Kippur one is commanded to extend a 10% gift to God (tithe); Ten Martyrs (Jewish leaders) were tortured/murdered by the Roman Empire; there were ten generations between Adam and Noah and between Noah and Abraham; a ten worshipper quorum (Minyan in Hebrew) is required for a collective Jewish prayer; etc.

7. The Hebrew word Kippur, כיפור (atonement/repentance), is a derivative of the Biblical word Kaporet כפורת,, the cover of the Holy Ark at the Sanctuary, and Kopher, כופר, the cover of Noah’s Ark and the Holy Altar at the Temple. Yom Kippur resembles a spiritual cover (dome), which separates between the holy and the mundane, between spiritualism and materialism. The Kippah, כיפה (skullcap, Yarmulka’), which covers one’s head during prayers, reflects a spiritual dome.

8. The Hebrew spelling of “fast” (צם/צום) – abstinence from food – reflects the substance of Yom Kippur. The Hebrew word for “fast” is the root of the Hebrew word for “reduction” and “shrinking” (צמצום) of one’s wrong-doing. It is also the root of the Hebrew words for “slave” (צמית) and “eternity” (צמיתות) – eternal enslavement to God, but not to human beings. “Fast” is also the root of עצמי (being oneself),עצום (awesome), עצמה (power),עצמאות (independence), which are gained through the process of fasting, soul-searching, spiritual-enhancement and faith in God.

9. A Memorial Candle, in remembrance of one’s parents, is lit during Yom Kippur. This reaffirms the “Honor Thy Father and Mother Commandment,” providing another opportunity to ask forgiveness of one’s parent(s), as well as, asking forgiveness on their behalf.

Yom Kippur Greeting #20

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

{Originally posted at author’s website www.createconnectprotect.com}

In Judaism, there is a traditional request for forgiveness prior to Yom Kippur. We want to go into our Day of Judgment with as clean a slate as possible. Those we have hurt are the only ones who can provide us with forgiveness for our sins against them and so we must ask them for that forgiveness.

Every year for the past 20 years, I’ve written an Annual Yom Kippur greeting. But my Yom Kippur greetings tend to go a little further than the typical request.

I hope you both enjoy the below and find it inspirational. I also know that many readers of this are not religious and/or not Jewish. Despite the initial content, I believe you will enjoy the write-up.

In Leviticus, the Torah states: “Whichever man there is of the house of Israel, who kills an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or who kills it out of the camp, and brings it not to the door of the Tent of Meeting, to offer an offering to the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord; blood shall be joined to that man; he has shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people;”

The punishment is extremely unusual. What does it mean to have the man joined to the blood of the animal? And why is he cut off from his people?

To begin to understand this, we must start with an understanding of blood itself. The Torah has a fascination with blood. One of the key references is Hashem’s command to the Jewish people to put blood on their doorposts in order to distinguish them from the Egyptians. The commanded blood set them apart from the Egyptians. But it also defined them as a group. Just as blood connects the cells in our bodies, blood connected their homes and families and made them cells in the body of the Jewish nation.

In other places, we see blood being described as the soul. Not the timeless soul, but the animating soul; the thing which gives our bodies physical life – and which can misdirect them. Many natural human acts are punished because the sinner’s blood was upon them – it controlled them when it should not have been allowed to. Grapes are described as having blood – they change the animation of a person and can thus undermine them.

Blood is animating. It gives us life. And with that life, it gives us something far more fundamental. It gives us potential.

In the verse above, we can see that the slaughtered animal can have its blood spent – or it can have itself dedicated in the Tabernacle. It can be poured onto the ground, or it can be used to help connect our world to the world of the timeless.

If you deny the animal the opportunity to serve this positive role, then your blood is tied to its blood. You are cut off from the people and you are denied your own opportunity to connect to the unchanging, the peaceful and the timeless.

You have wasted the animal’s potential and so yours is wasted as well.

This applies to animals, but it applies even more strongly to people. If a murdered person is found in the countryside, an elaborate ritual – representing the destruction of the Jewish people – is carried out. We place tremendous value on the preservation of potential. Failing to preserve potential can undermine our purpose as a nation.

What is potential? We can get an idea from the story of Genesis, G-d creates things and then deems them ‘good.’ It is an assessment of something new that has been created. But when Adam was created, he was deemed ‘not good.’ The bar for a flower or an animal is in the goodness of its form. But for mankind, the bar is higher. Goodness comes from our imitation of G-d; and this imitation starts with the act of creation itself. Adam, and in time, Eve were not creators. In order to be driven to create, they had to experience fear and loss and uncertainty. They had to know evil in order to know good.

A Presidential Pardon

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Israel’s President Ruby Rivlin recites Slichot, the prayers for forgiveness that are said leading up to Yom Kippur. This slichot prayer session was held at the President’s official residence.

Speaking of presidential pardons, it would be good if this were the year that Jonathan Pollard was let free.

Swing That Chicken Over Your Head

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

A Hareidi man performs the Kaparos ceremony for his son, in Beitar.

The ritual, which some consider controversial, is performed before Yom Kippur, as part of the repentance process.

A chicken is gently raised and waved over the head of a family member or yourself.

The person performing the ritual says the following statement (or a variation of it if you are performing it for someone else):

This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement. This [chicken/rooster/hen] will go to its death (Alternative text: This money will go to charity), while I will enter and proceed to a good long life and to peace.

After which, the chicken is shechted (kosher slaughter) and given to a poor person so their family will have chicken to eat before Yom Kippur.

For those that don’t like chickens, money can be substituted, which is then donated to the poor in place of the chicken.

The ritual is first mentioned in by Natronai ben Hilai, Gaon of the Academy of Sura in Babylonia, in 853 C.E

Their are many reasons modern people consider the ritual controversial:

1) Animal activists don’t like that chickens are slaughtered for food. 2) Animal activists don’t like that people wave chickens over their heads. 3) Animal activists don’t like the way the chickens are stored while waiting for the kaparos ceremony (a valid concern in some cases). 4) The process is done publicly, and most people have never been to a slaughterhouse. The concept that chickens were actually once alive before reaching the freezer section of the supermarket can be shocking to some. 5) There is a concern that the person may not hold the chicken properly and will injure it during the ritual. 6) It’s kind of icky to hold a live chicken, not to mention the associated risks of holding a bird over your head.

There are also religious authorities that consider the ritual controversial.

There are questions as to the origin of this ritual, and some (Ranban, Rashba) consider it a foreign, pagan practice that snuck (not sneaked) into Judaism. Rav Yosef Karo (Shulchan Aruch) also objected to it.

On the other side, there are other leading rabbis (and kabbalists) who do approve of it.

Whatever your stance, for many Jews its simply a long-loved tradition they aren’t about to give up or change. .

Suspicious Family Illegally Opens Mt. Herzl Grave – Finds It Empty

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

For 40 years, the family of Tzion Tayib have been fighting for proof their son was killed in the Yom Kippur war and it is his body that is buried in the Har Herzl military cemetery, according to a report on Galei Tzahal (Army Radio).

Tayib’s position on the Hermon mountain was overrun in the first days of the Yom Kippur war by Syrian commandos, where Tayib served as a communications specialist, according to a detailed report on Walla.

From that position, a number of soldiers were declared missing, and 11 months later the IDF declared them dead.

According to the court papers released by the Supreme Court, the IDF claimed that they learned from captured Syrian soldiers the location of Tayib’s body, and they recovered it, confirmed his identity, and buried it.

The body of Tzion Tayib was buried without the family being present, and they were later informed that he had been buried.

The family, from the beginning claimed the IDF did not do enough to positively confirm the identify of Tayib, and it was lying to them. They felt there were discrepancies in the versions told to them.

The IDF said it had 100% confirmed that Tayib was dead and buried in his grave.

Twenty years ago, when DNA testing became reliable, the family asked that the body be exhumed to confirm that it was Tayib who was buried in the Har Herzl military cemetery, but the IDF refused.

Three months ago, the family turned to the Bagatz (Israel’s Supreme Court) for permission to exhume and test the body.

In February, the Supreme Court responded that the IDF’s presented sufficient proof that it was Tzion Tayib who was buried there, and did not grant permission to the family.

The family then decided to take action on their own.

On Friday, when the cemetery was busy with preparations for Memorial Day, the family entered the cemetery with two doctors, one of them a pathologist, as well as a tombstone maker. They carefully removed the tombstone and began digging.

They did not find the body of Tzion Tayib. They did not find any body at all in the grave.

They videoed all the evidence, and then restored the grave and tombstone so that no one visiting their lost ones during the day would be disturbed by the site of an open grave.

As can be expected, this has caused a major scandal in Israel.

During the Yom Kippur war, when many soldiers were killed in terrible battles, sometimes, such as in the case of burnt out tanks, there was very little, if anything left to bury. But in those cases, the IDF privately informed the families that they were burying an empty coffin, or were burying a tank unit together, whose parts weren’t individually identifiable.

In this case, the IDF fought the family for 40 years, claiming it did bury the Tzion Tayib’s body.

What happens next remains to be seen.

From the Ministry of Defense Yizkor site:

Online Marker for Tzion Tayib

Online Marker for Tzion Tayib

Acharei Mot: The (Surprising) Point of Yom Kippur

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

We call Yom Kippur one of the Days of Awe – but what does awe have to do with forgiveness for our sins?

In this week’s parsha video, Rabbi Fohrman challenges the way we think about Yom Kippur and teaches us that we merge with God, and through that connection, we are purified on Yom Kippur.

Visit AlephBeta.  /  Rabbi David Fohrman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/rabbi-david-fohrman/acharei-mot-the-surprising-point-of-yom-kippur/2014/04/10/

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