And L-RD spoke to Moses, saying: Also, on the tenth of this seventh month, this is a day of atonement. It shall be a holy convocation to you. And you shall afflict your souls and offer a fire offering to L-RD. And you shall do no work in that same day, for it is a day of atonement, in order to make atonement for you before L-RD your G-D. For any soul who is not humbled in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And any soul who does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. You shall do no kind of work. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a Shabbat of rest, and you shall humble your souls. In the ninth of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall keep your Shabbat.” Lev 23:26

Sundown Friday will mark the beginning of Yom Kippur. For religious Jews around the world this is the holiest day of the calendar year.

Life in Israel basically comes to a halt as shops close on this all-important Day of Atonement. Those who observe Yom Kippur will fast and pray in synagogues, seeking forgiveness for their wrong doings against God.

“Yom Kippur” is considered to be the holiest day of the year. In Hebrew, “Yom Kippur” means, literally, Day of Atonement or day of reconciliation. The purpose of “Yom Kippur” is to bring about reconciliation between one person to another and between each person to G-D…

The ten days leading up to “Yom Kippur” are known as the Ten Days of Repentance. During this period we are encouraged to seriously seek out each other’s forgiveness and enter “Yom Kippur” with a lighter burden so when we stand before G-D and ask for His forgiveness our request will be granted.

According to Jewish tradition, it is also the day when G-D decides the fate of each living soul and seals it in the “Book of Life”. It is a commandment in the Torah to keep this holiday every year, throughout all generations, forever. “Yom Kippur” is a Shabbat; we must to do no work.

We are commanded to bring a fire offering to YHVH (light a candle) and dedicate this day to seek reconciliation with G-D. We are also commanded to “Afflict our souls”

In Biblical Hebrew the expression “to afflict your soul” usually means “to fast”; it appears in a number of other Biblical passages, from which it is clearer to understand that this phrase is connected with fasting (Psalms 35:13, Psalms 69:11, Isaiah 58:3, Isaiah 58:5, Isaiah 58:10).

However, the word fasting is not actually mentioned in the scripture in connection with “Yom Kippur”, the Hebrew phrase is actually: “Inuie Nefesh”; which was translated as: “soul affliction”. “Nefesh” (soul) in Biblical terms is actually the physical aspect of our beings; as it mentioned in Genesis:

Gen 2:7 And L-RD G-D formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The Hebrew word “Inuie” (affliction) in Biblical terms is coming from the same root of the word “poor”. The literal translation of the phrase actually would be: “abstinence from bodily necessities”

Although Yom Kippur is an intense holiday which involves the practice of abstaining from vanities, humbling ourselves and drawing closer to G-D through prayer and fasting; it is nevertheless viewed as one of the happiest days of the year, because that by the end of “Yom Kippur” we have made peace with each other and made peace with G-D.