One of my friends/coworker is Jewish. He is a really good man and I appreciate his company, his work ethic and the importance of his Jewish faith. He left work early yesterday and is off today because of Yom Kippur. We both used to work for the Dodgers so we have fun with Dodger trivia each day. The trivia question yesterday for September 22 was…
Why did Sandy Koufax not start Game 1 of the 1965 World Series?
Because it fell on Yom Kippur.
In reading today’s first reading from Ezra 9, it is a prayer of shame and desire for mercy. It was a reminder for me that God’s mercy is abundant, especially when we repent of our sinfulness. Being that it is the Day of Atonement for the Jews, I wanted to know a little more about it. I read a piece by Michael Kaplan in the International Business Times entitled, “What Is Yom Kippur? 11 Quick Facts You Should Know About The 2015 Jewish Day Of Atonement.” Here they are.
1. Many believe one’s actions from the past year are sealed after Yom Kippur. The day is a time for repentance.
2. The 10 days that precede Yom Kippur are called the Days of Repentance. It’s a period of time meant for introspection.
3. Many Jews choose to follow a tradition of wearing white clothing on Yom Kippur, symbolizing purity and a Biblical promise that sins that are repented shall be made white as snow.
4. Many Jews fast a full 26 hours for Yom Kippur. Anyone who cannot safely fast — including pregnant women and children — are exempt.
5. Work is considered forbidden during Yom Kippur.
6. Many Jews refrain from washing or bathing, using cosmetics or deodorant, or wearing leather shoes. Sexual relations during Yom Kippur are not permitted, either.
7. Many observant Jews spend much of the holiday at the synagogue. Services include readings from the Torah.
8. Services close with the blowing of the shofar, a ritual musical instrument made of a ram’s horn.
9. Disobedience toward God requires repentance; atonement for one’s wrongdoing toward other human beings often requires apologies.
10. Some religious Jews wave a chicken over their head three times while reciting prayers, and then slaughter the chicken, donating the meat or its monetary worth to the poor.
11. Many families hold a festive meal with relatives and friends to break the fast.
I continue to hope that all my Jewish brothers and sisters will come to know Jesus Christ and His love, mercy and forgiveness for all the children of God. One day, we will all know the truth. Our Lord knows each of us better than we know ourselves and my hope is in Him. I love my Jewish brothers and sisters. May God have mercy on us all. Amen.