Jewish Holiday: Yom Kippur

Spiritual Meanings
By: Amy J. Kramer

There must be a reason why so many Jews who do not observe other Jewish holidays and customs, put everything on hold for Yom Kippur.

What is so special about this holiday that stops Jews in their tracks and makes them take off work and school, freeing themselves of all other commitments, until the holiday is concluded?

Maybe it is the fear of being judged and being found unworthy. Maybe it is the realization that this day is the best chance for divine forgiveness. Sometimes, it is plain, old fashioned guilt - you realize there hasn't been much thought to spirituality all year round, so the extra effort is made on Yom Kippur. Or, is the essence of Yom Kippur so powerful, that it somehow calls upon our Jewish souls to unite as a nation.

Everyone's reason is different, but what doesn't change, is the acknowledgment of the power and awesome consequences of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur makes you stop and consider your behavior toward man and G-d. Too often, our lives, our families and our businesses get in the way the rest of the year. Immersing oneself in the day's prayers and confessions, helps to level the playing field.

In the synagogue, you can sit next to the head of a giant corporation or you can sit next to a clerk in a store or an office. It doesn't matter to G-d, and that is something too often forgotten in the hectic pace of life.

On Yom Kippur, we are reminded that what we do for a living has no correlation to our worthiness before G-d. Everyone is equal. The only thing that matters is our behavior to our friends, our spouses, our parents, our children, and our community. Succeed in these areas, and the reward in the world to come and in your lifetime, will outweigh even the richest and most famous.

Maybe that is why Jews all over the world dedicate Yom Kippur to their spiritual well being more than any other holiday in the Jewish calendar.