The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: These are My fixed times, the fixed times of the Eternal, which you shall proclaim as sacred occasions."
Every Yom Kippur afternoon, congregations all over the world read the Book of Jonah, as set out for us in the Babylonian Talmud, M'gillah 31a. Most people believe that this haftarah is chosen because it models complete repentance.
Decades ago, Rabbi Jack Reimer explained Yom Kippur for me this way. It's not saying: I'm sorry I was bad and I won't do it again. That's only a Sunday school, superficial expression of something much deeper and spiritually far more important.
That was for the Eternal a night of vigil [leil shimurim] to bring them out of the land of Egypt; that same night is the Eternal's, one of vigil for all the children of Israel throughout the ages. Exodus 12:42
Years ago, I was privileged to serve on the beit din for a conversion I will never forget. The forthright geir (the individual choosing Judaism) announced to the intergenerational and interdenominational beit din , "I am becoming an observant Jew.
Explore this week’s Torah portion with “Family Shabbat Table Talk” lessons, perfect for families with tweens.
Learn about the the portion that describes the ancient observance of Yom Kippur in this fun tween-friendly discussion guide.