Every physical manifestation begins with a thought or a spiritual event. On Yom Kippur we connect to a spiritual event that “download” the Light we were ’budgeted’ according to the process we went though during the days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. In order to draw this light we need to prepare our vessel (Spiritual) to receive it.
The Torah tells us ” בֶּעָשׂוֹר לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי הַזֶּה יוֹם הַכִּפֻּרִים הוּא, מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם, וְעִנִּיתֶם, אֶת-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם “. ” On the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; ”
The Hebrew word ” וְעִנִּיתֶם “is translated as “Atonement” but the deeper meaning and intention is to make our soul poor ” עני “. King David in Psalms says ” תְּפִלָּה, לְעָנִי כִי-יַעֲטֹף ” “a prayer for the poor”. When a person comes as poor with his prayers then he is answered. The ‘emptiness’ of the vessel expresses it desire for the Light.
To achieve ‘emptiness’ we nullify the desires of the body and disconnect as much as we can from the physical level. We accept on us five aspects of restriction in order to achieve a state of ‘poor’ and have our vessel ready to receive the Light for the entire year.
The five restrictions are: Eating and Drinking, Washing, Wearing leather (especially shoes), using oil for the body, sex. They help us disconnect from the desire to receive of the body that blocks the Light from coming in. Leather shoes and similar items are made from the skin of a dead animal. It connects us to the sin of Adam and Eve and the energy of death that was brought on them (us) by the snake.
The Holy Ari (Rabbi Isaac Luria) includes the couple’s physical unification in the third restriction of washing. He explains that on Yom Kippur Malchut is elevated to Binah to connect and draw the light to the physical. When a husband and wife connect on the lower level they create corruption in the supernal connection and the light goes to the negative side on Yom Kippur. If a child comes out from this relation then his soul is from the negative side.
The Ari also reveals that “ענוי”, ‘Atonement’ has the same numerical value as” צום “(fast) and “קול” (voice). Fasting and praying are the main connections we use on Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur should be a happy day. The five prayers connect us to the process of elevating Malchut to Keter, a state we achieve at the time of Ne’ilah that is before the fast end. We should not miss any of the connections and ‘consume’ all five meals. If you have breaks between prayers don’t waste time in activity or talks that will drain your light. Gossiping or talking business should be out of your consciousness even if you are tempted to enjoy latest ‘news’ with others. Gather your friends and pass around a Zohar book, read and discuss the section or whatever you study from your Kabbalah teachers.
Doing so will increase your vessel and capacity to receive the Light.