YOM KIPPUR, THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
“Return to me and I shall return to you says Hashem” Malachi 3.7
Shabbos Shabbasos, the Sabbath of Sabbaths,
Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, may our sincere prayers save us,
We gather on Yom Kippur, in fear and in trembling, (pray at home if no authentic Jewish Orthodox Synagogue is within walking distance)
In awed anticipation of G-D’s Heavenly reckoning.
For the sin of the egel (the golden calf), its unbridled evil,
Required weeks of repentance by us Jewish people,
Then on 10th Tishrei, Moshe Rabbenu (Moses our teacher) descended Har Sinai (Har:mountain),
With the second set of luchos (set of tablets of Law) to us justify.
Now, on the 10th of Tishrei, 10 days after Rosh Hashanah,
On Yom Kippur, resting, fasting and in repentant manner,
Asking G-D in His mercy, that we be accepted,
For all unbecoming words and deeds we have now retracted.
One who sins also does harm to him or herself,
The soul on its own cannot sin expiate,
Except by appeasing G-D’s Holy anger,
And of sin, daily repent and also on Yom Kippur.
Our sins we all analyse and carefully minimize,
We confess verbally to G-D our guilt or any vice,
First wishing sincerely that they had never been committed,
Regretting and resolving that they not be repeated.
For actions against G-D or thoughts against Him, (this includes disobeying or ignoring G-D’s mitzvoth, the commandments)
Each must ask G-D’s Holy forgiveness for any such sin,
And for any sins against one’s fellow Jew,
It is his or her fellow’s forgiveness one seeks to procure.
If we have sinned against any Jewish person,
Apology, regret and redress to him or her should be certain,
And if someone has sinned against us,
Apology, regret and redress they should be asked to express.
We should not at all be hard and cruel,
If the apology offered is genuine,
We should be willing to sincerely forgive,
So as our fellow to not aggrieve.
Apology is not needed nor is regret expected,
If any difficult situations would thus be effected,
However, forgiveness should be given in one’s heart,
As we cannot be sure of all matters that took part.
Not one person on earth is in their deeds all perfect,
Everybody, alas, has some spiritual defect,
To repent of sins, we reconsider them, confessing,
Begging merciful G-D, for His very kind blessing.
Yom Kippur may take place even on a Shabbos,
A long fast of 25 hours, for some it may be onerous,
Beginning before sunset, ending after nightfall,
Atoning with fat and blood, for our actions sinful.(by fasting, using up our own fat and blood in the process)
We prepare by eating a full, filling meal, (eating and drinking, non- alcoholic)
To withstand lengthy fast, unwell not to feel,
Therefore a great mitzvah it is, to eat to satiety,
Likened in merit to fasting in entirety.
On the Day of Yom Kippur, we also don’t wash at all,
Except to prepare food for the young or infirm,
But we do wash of course, all our fingertips,
On morning waking (netilat yadayim, in Yiddish, Negel Vasser), or after a rest room trip.
Previously our home in order, has been neatly assembled,
Lights as for the Holy Shabbos, with a bracha (prayer blessing)have been kindled, (even when Yom Kippur does not happen on Shabbos)
Hoping that our thoughtful and sincere repentance,
With a favourable answer from G-D in Heaven will have ascendence.
Having dressed in respectable festival clothing, (often in all white clothing)
With non-leather shoes, walking to the gathering, (pray at home if there is no authentic Orthodox Synagogue within walking distance.)
Shoeless when indoors, in deep prayer responding,
We fast day and night, to the mitzvah conforming. (young children and sick people must not fast, check with an authentic Orthodox Rabbi)
On Yom Kippur night we all do declare,
The vows that we broke, that we’d all have to bear,
We annul them, in verses, to be from judgment spared, (Kol Nidre)
In public, on Yom Kippur, is in unison proclaimed.
In the daylight hours of the Holy Day of Yom Kippur,
We pray, supplicating to G-D in fear and in awe,
We are so humbled, for we are His creatures,
Begging mercy from G-D, for our sinful breaches.
The shofar is sounded in the last final moments,
We express wishes next year to be in Yerushalayim, Ha Eretz, (Eretz, Heb:The land of Israel)
Fulfilling the mitzvah to repent as commanded,
Sanctifying G-D’s Holy Name as we all intended. (by obeying G-D’s word)
When the day’s fasting and prayer is completed,
We eat, drink, reviving from the lengthy deficit,
We are taught (in the Torah) to presume the acceptance,
By G-D of our true and fully sincere repentance.
We read of Ninevah in the Book of Yonah,
On the Holy day of Yom Kippur,
The warning to them, their repentance and of G-D’s mercy,
That's bestowed on earthly mortals if their regret is worthy.
G-D directed Yonah (Jonah) the prophet,
To warn Nineveh the city, of the impending catastrophic moment,
Yonah foresaw that his words would not come true,
As Nineveh’s inhabitants of repentance knew.
So Yonah avoided warning Nineveh, against G-D’s word,
Escaping his duty, from a ship he was thrown overboard,
Then swallowed by a large fish and later disgorged,
Yonah quickly went to Nineveh, the people to urge.
Yonah prophesied to warn the town people,
Who repented of their myriad forms of evil,
They were all saved by G-D in His great mercy,
From the shade of the kikayon, Yonah watched the controversy. ( kikayon: the plant G-D provided to shield Yonah from the sun)
We too can repent, say we were just so wrong,
Strike chest with clenched fist regretfully, not be headstrong,
Just as we wish our pleas to be heard,
So we forgive our fellows, who did us disturb.
In the Holy of Holies, the scarlet thread turned white,
On Yom Kippur in the Holy Temple on Har Moriah, if we were judged right,
This miracle was G-D’s sign to all us Jews,
That G-D had accepted our repentance, without further dues.