A Few Thoughts on Yom Kippur

While preparing to enter Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:26-32), I am reminded of the article I just wrote for the UMJC Torah Commentary series on the Days of Awe; the days that conclude with Yom Kippur, Tuesday evening and Wednesday. In the article, I tied together passages from Mishnah Yoma 8:9 and Matthew 5:23–24 to point out the importance of our relationship with God and people.

For transgressions between a person and God, Yom Kippur atones; however, for transgressions between a person and another, Yom Kippur does not atone until he appeases the other person.

So then, if you bring your gift to the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your gift.

So, as we enter Yom Kippur, we need to remember that while we are fasting, while we are considering our relationship with HaShem, we need to also consider our relationship with others. Yeshua affirms this fact when his talmidim asked that he teach them how they should pray,

…and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)

Immediately afterward, Yeshua followed with these words,

“For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)

The above quote by Noami Wolf seems to agree with both the passage from Mishnah Yoma as well as the teachings of Yeshua. We are not only to be introspective, seeking what needs to be changed, we actually need to make the changes both in our relationship with HaShem as well as our relationships with others.

May you have a meaningful Yom Kippur and may your relationships and interactions with others in the coming year be full of grace and shalom.

* Scripture passages are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. 

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