Yom Kippur represents a time when Jews reflect on and ask for forgiveness for their sins, with a day long fast and intense prayer. Jews around the world fast on the holy day meaning they abstain from food, drink, marital relations, bathing and perfume.
This lasts for 25 hours, and each year Yom Kippur begins on the tenth day of the seventh month at sundown.
The day is known as the holiest in the Jewish calendar, with the majority of the day is spent in synagogue services.
However, celebrations may be different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many potentially opting to say prayers at home to avoid crowds at the synagogue.
In a statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today: “#YomKippur this year will be different because of the pandemic, but I would like to extend my very best wishes to all Jews in the UK and across the world. G’mar chatimah tovah.”
Read More: Yom Kippur greeting – what to say: How to say happy Yom Kippur
The first candle lighting prayer is –
Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-sov ve-tzi-vo-nu le-had-lik ner shel Yom Ha-kipurim.
Translation: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the Day of Atonement.
The second –
Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech ha-o-lam she-he-che-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-hi-gi-ya-nu liz-man ha-zeh.
Translation: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.
Isaiah wrote, “With lights, honour God” which is why often many candles are lit in homes and synagogues.
However, only married men light candles in the synagogue wherein past times both young and old would have candles lit for them.
One candle in the synagogue should be large enough to burn for the entire 25 hours of Yom Kippur.
This candle is known as “dos lebidikeh licht” in Yiddish, which translates to “the living light”.
Another name for this candle is “dos gezunteh licht” which means “the healthy light”.