Yom Kippur preparations will be well underway tonight, as observers prepare for the book of life to close. The occasion is the holiest of the year for the Jewish people, one for solemn introspection and fasting. Most people will elect to spend the day in the synagogue, where they spend the day being cleansed of remaining sin before the book of life seals their names for the year. Yom Kippur follows the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah when the book of life opened.
What time does Yom Kippur start tonight?
Yom Kippur starts on October 8 and will end on October 9 in 2019.
According to the Torah, Yom Kippur begins during the evening on one day and ends with the evening on the next.
However, there is much debate as to what time constitutes the “evening”.
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As such, people observe Yom Kippur from sunset on the first day (roughly 6.23pm on October 8) and stop when the stars are visible the next evening.
Jews believe Yom Kippur originates in the Old Testament after Moses was gifted the 10 commandments.
When Moses came down from the peak of Mount Sinai, he found his followers worshipping a golden calf.
In anger, Moses threw the commandments to the ground, breaking them into pieces.
Only after they repented was Moses given a second set of tablets, and as such practitioners refrain from ‘sin’ during Yom Kippur.
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How do you wish someone a happy Yom Kippur?
Yom Kippur is a toned-down day focussed on introspection and is observed rather than celebrated.
Those who do observe Yom Kippur will greet one another in Hebrew, with traditional greetings based around “sealing”.
Practitioners of the Jewish faith believe Yom Kippur marks the closing of the book of life, which seals people’s names and fates inside.
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A traditional greeting for Yom Kippur might be “G’mar Hatima Tova”, Hebrew for “may you be sealed in the Book of Life.”
Where appropriate, the greeting is shortened to “G’mar Tov”.
For those not fasting during the day, one might say “Good Yuntif” or “yom tov”, Yiddish and Hebrew respectively for “have a good holy day”.
Before Yom Kippur starts, people can say “have a meaningful fast”.