On Rosh Hashanah, we appeared in front of the judge, and ten days later on Yom Kippur, we receive the ‘verdict’. This is our budget for ‘life force’ for the year. It will determine the quality of our lives for the coming year.
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 through 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 its 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 upon ourselves 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.
Preparation on the day before Yom Kippur
It is recommended to eat fish דגים in the morning. Fish are always in water that is the aspect of Chassadim and mercy. The name has the letters יג and מד that implies for the 13 attributes of mercy. Sardines סר דינים has a name that means ‘removing judgments’.
Yom Kippur is on the 10th day of the month of Tishrei. The Holy Ari explains that eating double portions on the 9th day is considered as if we fast on the 9th and on the 10th. Meals should be done with the ‘Birkat Hamazon’ that is the full blessing of the food to prepare us for the spiritual connections of the next day.
The 5 restrictions we do on Yom Kippur:
1. No Eating & Drinking – draws physical energy and locks us in the body consciousness. With the fast, we avoid that.
2. No Washing – disrupts the positive spiritual energy of Binah that comes on Yom Kippur. When at the level of Binah we don’t want to lower it to the physical level by washing the body.
3. No Leather garments (Shoes, belts, etc.)– Leather connects us to death – we should avoid any aspect of death. For that same reason, we also avoid sleeping during the day.
4. No marital relations – because it draws specific Light from Zeir Anpin, which is lower than the level of Binah that we enjoy on Yom Kippur.
5. No use of oils – Anointing one’s body draws Light from Chokmah that conflicts with the Light of Yom Kippur.
When we disconnect from the ‘gravity’ of the material level, we can easily ascend to the spiritual level of Binah and enjoy the 5 spiritual meals of Yom Kippur.
Fasting is always good for us when we want to connect higher to spiritual energy we better lower the desires of the body. It supports our prayers.
The importance of the three elements that connect us to Life
“ותשובה ותפילה וצדקה מעבירין את רוע הגזרה”
“And repentance and prayer and charity (Tzedakah) avert the difficult decree”
Repentance – It’s the aspect of disconnecting the desire for the self alone and the gravity to the material world that is represented by the lower letter H ה of the YHVH name. With that we connect to the Letter Vav ו that represents Zeir Anpin and the Light, benefiting us with the flow of Light and spiritual sustenance.
Prayers – is the use of the sacred text to elevate our souls to the level of Zeir Anpin and Binah to draw the Light.
Tzedakah – Giving Tzedaka should be a weekly action and it is especially important before Yom Kippur because it is said that Tzedakah will save from death. Therefore it would be good to pay past debts. If you had plans to make donations do it because it is not good to keep open promises, even if they were made on a thought level. Return loaned items (books, umbrella, etc.) because we do not want to take advantage of people’s kindness. If you still use the item call its owner and ask for permission to return it later.
Remove all types of ‘Bread of Shame’. Make phone calls and ask forgiveness from people that you have or may have hurt in the past.
Follow the confessions in the prayer books. They cover all types of sins and inequities. Those made by you and those made by others. You don’t have to specify your own sins. The secret is in Numbers 14:20 “And YHVH said: ‘I have pardoned according to your word.”
Mikveh for men is important on the day before Yom Kippur. It helps cleanse ‘environmental’ impurities that may have attached to the person and ‘contaminated’ him. Take longer showers where there is no Mikveh.
Women should light candles.
Meditation on the water before the beginning of the fast. Click on the link below
Before the last glass of water and meditation, I usually drink hot tea and brush my teeth, ‘washing’ the tongue from any food tastes as it may bother us later. That’s another aspect of a clean vessel.
May you all have an easy fast and focus on the spiritual meals. They are our best opportunities to connect and be inscribed in the Book of Life.