This Tuesday evening, we begin our observance of the holiest and most spiritual day of the year.
If Shabbat is holy, then, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the Holy of Holies.
I want to share a few meditations that make my Yom Kippur more meaningful. I hope they will enhance your experience too.
As we approach God on this day, I contemplate the significance of the words, “not because of our righteousness do we pour out our supplication before You, but because of Your great compassion” (Daniel 9:26).
When Moses asked God to forgive the Jewish people, he said, “forgive now the iniquity of this people according to Your great kindness” (Numbers 14:19).
How wonderful it is to have a God who is loving, kind, merciful, and compassionate.
I also meditate on God’s answer to Moses, “I have forgiven them, according to your words” (Numbers 14:20).
This refrain is so meaningful we repeat it loudly numerous times in the Yom Kippur prayers.
Once again, we see how prayer has the power to arouse God’s forgiveness.
On Yom Kippur, we are also commanded to “afflict yourselves” (Leviticus 16:31). By meditating on Kind David’s words, “I afflicted my soul with fasting” (Psalm 31:13), I appreciate the value of combining prayer with fasting.
On Yom Kippur we read the entire book of Jonah. The book of Jonah is significant because it describes how God forgave the non-Jewish people of Nineveh of their transgressions after, “God saw their deeds (fasting) and that they repented of their evil way” (Jonah 3:10).
Although missionaries claim that originally everyone needed sacrifices to remove sin, this passage in Jonah proves they are incorrect. Nowhere in scriptures were non-Jews required to bring sacrifices to get rid of sin. So, missionaries are also wrong when they claim that the messiah needs to die to take the place of sacrifices.
We simply need to pray and sincerely repent directly to God.
Finally, I meditate on King Solomon’s words, “charity saves from death” (Proverbs 10:2).
Therefore, it is customary to increase in giving charity the day before Yom Kippur.
May this Yom Kippur provide you the opportunity to experience God’s love and compassion.
Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz