What does Yom Kippur mean and how to wish someone a Happy Yom Kippur in Hebrew?

Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day of the year for Jewish people (Picture: Getty)

Yom Kippur is considered to be the most important day for people of the Jewish faith, falling 10 days after Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year.

The day begins at sundown on Sunday, September 27 and will be observed with a 25 hour fast and prayer.

Yom Kippur is an important day as it focuses on setting intentions for the year ahead and repenting for the sins of the year before. The thought is that people who observe the day will clean their slate for a brand-new year.

How can you wish someone a Happy Yom Kippur?

What does Yom Kippur mean?

Yom Kippur is Hebrew, and it translates as ‘Day of Atonement’ which captures the mood and intention of the day.

Jewish people will spend the day atoning for their sins, through fasting and prayer.

Many hours will be spent in prayer over the 25-hour period (Picture: Getty)

As well as fasting – refraining from food and drink for 25 hours –  many normally spend the whole day in a synagogue, with a special service called Kol Nidre taking place soon after the fast begins at sundown, and services for the whole of the following day until the fast ends at sundown the day after.

In addition to fasting, people also abstain from bathing, wearing leather and wearing perfumes or lotions, and any sexual activity is also banned for the day.

This year, services might look a little different following the new coronavirus restrictions introduced earlier this week.

Though religious services are exempt from the rule of six, houses of worship must adhere to social distancing and other things, like communal meals, will be prohibited.

Many synagogues have also introduced booking systems to regulate the numbers attending services.

How to wish someone a Happy Yom Kippur

Whereas you’d wish a Jewish person Shana Tova – ‘good year’ – for Rosh Hashanah, there’s no standard greeting for Yom Kippur.

Given the reflective, serious nature of Yom Kippur, it’s expected that you wouldn’t really wish them a ‘happy’ day like you would for a New Year celebration.

You can, however, say Chag Sameach – pronounced CHAG sah-may-ach – which means simply ‘happy holiday’ and which can be used as a greeting for any Jewish festival.

Alternatively, you can wish someone a ‘good Yom Tov’ – Yom Tov being a term which means ‘festival day’, when work and other activities are forbidden.

What time does the fast start for Yom Kippur?

As sundown falls, Jewish people will begin fasting (Picture: Getty)

The fast for Yom Kippur is expected to start around 18:33 tonight, September 27.

The fast will end around 19:32 on September 28.

What is the history of Yom Kippur?

Followers of Judaism believe when the Israelites left Egypt, they went to Mount Sinai where Moses climbed to the top of the mountain.

God gave Moses two tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, with the first commandment instructing people not to worship any false idols.

When Moses came down from the mountain, he found the Israelites worshiping a golden calf.

In anger, Moses shattered the tablets.

To beg for God’s forgiveness, the Israelites atoned for their sins later this day – the 10th day of Tishrei – and God forgave them, granting Moses two new tablets.

This is why the 10th day of Tishrei – the first month of the Jewish year – became a day of atonement, Yom Kippur.

MORE: When Jewish people get offended by your Antisemitism, don’t tell us we’re too sensitive

Follow Metro across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Share your views in the comments below.


See also  Light fantastic: the UK’s best Christmas illuminations

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more