Yom Kippur starts at sundown on Sunday September 24 and lasts until nightfall of Monday September 25. We fast for 25 hours and abstain from other pleasures to elevate our spirit from the material to the physical realm. Although fasting is difficult for many, Yom Kippur is not a day of sadness but one of joy, a time to connect with our Creator and cleanse ourselves from any sins we may have committed during the past year. Some have a custom to wear white, a symbol of purity that links us to the angelic realm.
For those with children, it’s customary to bless them before the holiday with the traditional “priestly benediction” (May God make you…, etc.*). Here’s another beautiful prayer to add: “May it be the will of our Father in heaven to instill in your heart love and awe of Him, that awe of God will be with you all your life so that you do not sin, that you desire Torah and mitzvos, that you look ahead, that you speak wisely and your heart behave properly, that your hands be occupied with mitzvos, that your feet run to do the will of our Father in Heaven, that you be given righteous sons and daughters who will occupy themselves with Torah and mitzvos all their lives. May your livelihood be blessed and your income be provided permissibly, pleasantly and profitably from His generous hand rather than relying on other people – a livelihood that enables you to serve God – and may you be written and sealed for a good and long life with all the righteous of Israel. Amen.”
Image: “Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph” by Rembrandt, 1656