HOME SERVICES FOR

THE DAY OF THE ATONEMENTS

(YOM HA-KIPPURIM)

 

Schedule of Services

 

Fast begins                 6.30 pm (approximate time, about an hour before complete

                                                  darkness)

 

Evening service           7.30 pm

 

Dawn service               6.30 am

 

Morning service           9.00 am

 

Noon service             12.00 pm

 

Afternoon service        3.00 pm

 

Closing prayers           6.00 pm

 

End of fast                   7.30 pm (approximate time, when complete darkness has fallen)

 

The periods between each service can be taken up with one's own choice of readings - from the Bible, from other prayer books, or even from ordinary books which inspire you, and help with the moods and themes of the day. You can also spend time in quiet meditation and reflection, or listen to contemplative music, suitable for the mood of the day.

Everything that follows is designed to evoke a spiritual and psychological response, and enable one to feel cleansed at the end. If you are uncomfortable with anything, then leave it out. Feel free to expand on those things you find helpful.

What you will need for the day

A set of black or dark clothing

A memorial light

candles (two at a time)

matches (and a taper if you have one)

A change of clean, white clothes

A prayer shawl (only if you are Israelite by birth or have fully converted)

A Miqra (Bible)

If you wish to perform a symbolic imersion at the end of the evening service, then have a full bath tub of warm water ready. This represents the immersion one performed before one attended the Temple service. Since there is no Temple, this is sufficient for the purpose required. It is performed by kneeling in the bath, then bowing to completely immerse oneself.

If you wish to perform the custom of symbolically casting away one's sins (tashlikh) then you will need:

A small piece of paper

A pen or pencil

A match/taper

A container to burn the paper in

A safe surface on which to place the container

If you live near a river, the ashes are thrown into the river; if not, then the ashes are thrown into the wind.

 

Evening Service 7.30pm

 

Standing, dressed in black (without prayer-shawl) on the eve of Yom ha-Kippurim, one lights the Memorial Light, saying:

 

We bless you and praise you, O YHVH our God, for you have sanctified us with your continuous Presence, and given us to enkindle the Light of Remembrance on this Day of Atonements. Amein

 

Then, using a taper, taking light from the Memorial Light, one lights two candles, saying:

 

We bless you and praise you, O YHVH our God, for you have watched over our lives, and preserved us, and guided us to this holiest of days. Amein.

[if a Sabbath, add]: Bless this day and make it holy.

 

(Be seated)

 

Beloved YHVH, if ever my lips should open, let them but declare your praise.

 

For you are held blessed by every nation; you are the Father and Mother of every people in every land. You bestow upon your children every loving-kindness; you are ever mindful of the pious deeds of men and women throughout the earth, and in love you visit and save humanity each and every day.

 

Come upon us now, O YHVH; look with mercy upon your sons and daughters, we who have sinned against You. O YHVH our God, our Saviour and our Redeemer, our shield of holiness and eternal truth, let your spirit dwell among us as we contemplate our sins on this day, as well as the injustices of others.

 

Let us remember now the injustices perpetrated upon others.

 

Let us recall the sufferings:

     of all nations that are oppressed,

     of peoples that are no more because they suffered genocide,

     of peoples that are forced to flee their native land,

     of immigrants,

     of the physically and mentally handicapped,

     of religious minorities,

     of those subjugated by their own religion,

     of political prisoners,

     of those who are kept in bondage as slaves

     and of all those groups of people whose concerns are particularly dear to us.

 

(pray a moment in silence for other groups of people whose welfare is of special importance to you).

 

Let us pray for the relief of their pain and their sorrow, that our God may comfort them, and free them from their unhappiness and misfortune.

 

Let us also remember the pain that we as individuals have endured; the hate and abuse that we have ever suffered; the unkindnesses and injustices we have had to bear; our sorrow and our pain. And let us remember how, when we had no one to turn to, our God was with us and carried us, and helped us to endure such difficult times.

 

(In the following prayer, for each line, try to silently recall a specific incident over the last year that happened to you personally)

Let us remember, that

     when others hurt us physically,

     or spoke maliciously against us,

     or when we endured painful unkindness,

     or terrible injustice,

     or unhappiness

     or loneliness,

     or grief,

     or sorrow,

 

that it was YHVH who came to our side, who poured salve on our wounds, who held us close, who loved us so dearly that our pain was released, and our souls were healed.

 

Prayers for the Souls of the Dead

 

Let us now remember the souls of the dead, of those we loved, by praying for them:

 

Beloved YHVH, God of the living, and of those who have found their rest in your eternal Presence, hear our prayer: We pray for the souls of all those who have gone before us to their rest; for they are now by your side, free of the trials of life, and bathed in the unending brilliance of Your Presence in heaven. Bless them always, and keep them forever near to you.

 

We pray especially for the dear souls of (here, silently name those you wish to recall at this time).

 

And to those of us who still have our years to live, give us, loving YHVH, the courage to grieve; let us never be afraid to open our hearts and to shed our tears. Yet let us not dwell on our sorrow, but on the love they showed us while they were with us. Make them know that we loved them in life, and love them even now as they behold your glory in heaven.

 

Heavenly Father, be with us, and stand by us, as we recall this evening the passing of those whom we loved. In this hour of remembrance, we are brought closer to those thoughts and memories which still cause us sadness. Yet let us not be afraid of our sadness, rather give us the strength of your mighty power, that we may draw courage from you to face what we feel within us.

 

Our loved ones inspired us in life; now they behold that beautiful vision which is your Presence; this you have blessed them with throughout all eternity. Now they live forever with you; now they have perfect understanding; now they have infinite joy. As their souls become ever more united to your Divine Presence, help us to use their loving memory for the benefit and wealth of your kingdom.

 

May every soul, when they leave this life, be greeted by your Divine Presence. Let every soul dwell in the light of your blessedness, and may every soul be granted the boon of seeing you face to face when they return to their heavenly home.

 

YHVH has given, and YHVH has taken away; blessed be the Name of YHVH. Amein.

 

May they sleep forever, O YHVH, in the radiance of Your Presence, and may the warmth of your divine light shine upon them; bless them in peace forever.

 

(now stand)

 

Contemplative Prayers

 

In you, all things have life and existence; though our bellies may starve, our souls are given nourishment to endure whatever the world may lay upon our shoulders. Nourish then our hearts when they are torn by sadness or sorrow, and lift us up for the day to come.

 

When all is still, and the shadow of despair approaches, let us not suffer the wounds of our past, but rather cleanse us with the salvation of your healing, and lead us forward with the presence of your love.

 

O YHVH, you are father and mother to us all, your sons and daughters on earth; give mercy to us in contemplation of our sorrow, forgiveness to those who love you; hope to those who seek you; free speech to those who praise you; joy to this earth, and gladness to every town and village.

 

Then shall the just also see and be glad, and the upright shall exalt, and the pious triumphantly rejoice, while iniquity shall close her mouth, and all wickedness shall be wholly consumed like smoke, when you make the dominion of arrogance to pass away from the earth.

 

(now sit and contemplate all that has hurt you and caused you pain during the last year, without judgment, revenge, bitterness or blame, so that you can go to immersion later and be symbolically relieved of your sorrow, and be spiritually cleansed).

 

YHVH is a loving parent, whose care is tender, and whose embrace is warmth. YHVH shall wipe away our tears, and soothe away our hurt. The wicked and hurtful things that have been done against each of us, YHVH shall diminish them, disarm them, weaken them, and lift their burden from our shoulders, so that their sting can harm us no more.

For how can I expect forgiveness, if I myself cannot forgive others? I hereby forgive all those who have hurt me, all who have caused me pain, all who have been unkind to me, and all who have caused me to suffer. I let go, I am freed, I am at peace.

 

Blessed be the Name of YHVH. Amein.

 

(now immerse yourself completely. This is a purely symbolic immersion [unless one has access to a proper miqveh at this point], and can be performed in a bath tub full of warm water. It represents the immersion one made in ancient times before one ascended to the Temple for services. As one immerses, say)

 

May YHVH wash away my sorrow, and cleanse me of my hurt.

 

(dry off and dress in white, and put on your prayer-shawl).

 

You have removed my hurt and my pain, O YHVH; you have cleansed me, and enabled me to go forward into the coming day, to remember my sins without any bitterness towards the past.

 

(then place a copy of the Miqra or a prayer book on your dining table, a symbol that prayer shall be our only food through the coming day).

 

Read Psalms 6, 13, 22, 23

 

(the rest of the evening is spent in quiet prayer and meditation)

 

(before retiring to bed, say the following):

 

O YHVH, you have given us this day for pardon, forgiveness, and atonement, that we may in love obtain pardon for all our sins.

 

Heavenly Father, bring deliverance and well-being, loving-kindness and mercy, life and peace on this Day of Atonements. Remember us on this day; be mindful of our frailty and vulnerability, bless us we pray, and save us from harm and fear; and let your abundant mercy fall upon us.

 

On this day, blot out our rebelliousness, and abandon our wrongdoings, and make our faults to disappear like a mist.

 

Accept therefore our prayer; look kindly upon our devotion, and do not turn your blessing and favour from us.

 

Hear O Israel, YHVH is our God, YHVH alone.

And you shall love YHVH your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

 

Blessed be the Holy Name of YHVH. Amein.

 

(now go to bed).

 

 

Dawn service 6.30 am

 

(dress in clean white clothing, and put on your prayer-shawl. No candles are lit for this service; only the memorial light is burning)

 

(at daybreak, read):

 

In the days of the Temple, before cockcrow on the Day of Atonements, the courts of the Temple compound were filled with people. There were priests in their white robes and coloured waist sashes, stationed on the roof of the Temple. They were watching for the first light of the holiest day of the year. Once there was enough light for them to see the town of Hevron between the hills to the south-east of Jerusalem, they called out for the people and the High Priest to hear:

 

“The light of morning has reached Hevron”.

 

May YHVH bless this Day of Atonements, when God shall cleanse us, and remember our sin no more. (cf Jer 31:34)

 

O YHVH, hear my prayer;

Let my cry come before you.

Do not hide your face from me

In my time of trouble;

Turn your ear to me

- when I cry, answer me speedily

(Ps 102:2-3)

 

God shall forgive all your sins,

And heal all your afflictions.

God will redeem your life from the pit,

And surround you with love and mercy.

God will satisfy you with good things,

And renew your youth like the eagle.

(Ps 103:3-5)

 

The High Priest  would then go to change his clothes. Each time he changed clothes during the day, he would bathe once in warm water, put on a fresh set of clothes, and wash his hands and feet twice in a special golden vessel. For the regular morning incense service, he was attired in the beautiful golden robes of a High Priest, since it was part of the regular daily services.

 

(Go and wash your hands and feet once only, to symbolise that, now there is no Temple, we are all priests serving and ministering to God in our daily lives).

 

The High Priest would then enter the main sanctuary of the Temple, and burn incense on the golden altar there. He would then go to the menorah, trim the wicks of the lamps, and fill them with finest olive oil.

 

Once this was all accomplished, the regular daily service was over.

The High Priest then washed his hands and feet twice, removed his golden robes, and bathed once. Then he put on his special white, linen vestments, unique for the day. These vestments were worn for all the expiatory services.

 

O YHVH, our YHVH, how majestic is your name throughout all the earth. (Ps 8:2)

 

First Service of Yom ha-Kippurim: Morning Service 9.00 am

 

(dress in white for the whole day)

 

(with a taper, light 2 candles from the memorial light).

The order of the service is geared towards helping you recall your sins.

Heavenly Father, you know the secrets of eternity, and the hidden things of life. You search into the innermost recesses, and try the reins of the heart. Nothing is concealed from you, or hidden from your eyes.

We have strayed, we have committed wrongs, we have grievously rebelled.

May it then be your will, O Sovereign YHVH, to forgive us of all our errors, to pardon us of all our wrongdoings, and to grant us remission of all our rebellions.

For the sins which we have committed under compulsion,

     or of our own will,

     in the hardening of the heart,

     with the utterance of our lips,

     by unchastity,

     knowingly and deceitfully,

     by slander,

     in business or in work,

     in eating or drinking,

     by the stretched-forth neck of pride

     by the conversation of our mouths,

     or by effrontery,

for all these, forgive us O YHVH, and grant us peace for our souls.

 

For the sins which we have committed by going against the ways of your kingdom,

     by contentiousness,

     by ensnaring our neighbour,

     by being inconsiderate,

     by being selfish,

     by envy,

     by playing jokes on others,

     by knowingly causing confusion,

     by being stiff-necked,

     by tale-bearing,

     by hatred,

     by breach of trust,

 

for all these, forgive us O YHVH, and grant us peace for our souls.

 

For the sins which we have committed by lying,

     by cheating,

     by taking what is not rightfully ours,

     by vengefulness,

     by arrogance,

     by anger,

     by hurtfulness,

     by delighting in others’ misfortune,

     by neglect,

     by deceit,

     by vain promises,

 

for all these, forgive us O YHVH, and grant us peace for our souls.

 

And may it be your will O God, that I should see and know all my sins this day, and be moved to pity and sorrow now while I live, so that I will never want to do these things again. As for sins I have committed against myself, against others, and against you, purge them away by your bountiful compassion and heal me.

 

Therefore, guard my tongue from uttering evil things, and my lips from speaking guile; and to those that curse me, let my soul be dumb. Open my heart to your ways, and let my soul pursue your will.

In the months and years to come, let me seek Your will. Help me to know and understand how Your will uplifts my soul, and ennobles my being. Therefore in my future actions, give me the strenght to examine my motives, and if my designs go against Your greater plan, give me the courage to abandon my own.

 

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your Presence, O YHVH my Saviour and Redeemer, my Rock and my Shield. May the One who makes peace in the high places, may that One make peace for us and for all nations.

 

(now spend some time in silence, and try to recall as many of your sins as you can – and be honest, there is no point lying to yourself. If it helps, then on a small piece of paper, write the first letter of a word that represents each sin – so that anyone seeing it will not know your sins, only God alone. This will later be burnt).

 

The first Atonement

 

In the days of the Temple, at the morning service on this, the holiest of days, the High Priest - dressed in his special white linen garments – would lay both his hands on the head of a young bull and say the confession for the first atonement, for himself and his household:

 

“I beseech you O YHVH!

I have strayed, I have committed wrongs,

I have grievously rebelled against you

- I and my household.

I beseech you O YHVH,

pardon the errors, wrongdoings and rebellions

which I have committed against you

- I and my household,

as it is written:

‘On this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before YHVH’.”

 

And the people responded:

 

“Blessed be the name of YHVH; the glory of God’s kingdom is forever and ever.”

 

Then all the people would bow, kneel, and go prostrate in awe before YHVH most merciful and compassionate.

 

(Then, with the paper symbolically inscribed with your sins in your right hand, bow, kneel, and then go prostrate. The Israelite act of prostration is sitting on one's haunches, then bowing ones head to touch the ground, with ones arms stretched out in front. Then quietly say):

 

Forgive me, my God, these my sins, especially the sin of (here name any sins you are particularly sorry for), of which I sorely wish to be forgiven. My sins have diminished me, and lessened the sum of my soul.

 

(Now stand and say together):

I am unworthy of being forgiven, by my brothers and sisters, or by yourself; but help me O God, to recall my sins, and to ponder over them, so that I may in future avoid all occasion for these sins. In sincerity and in humility, I therefore ask your forgiveness.

 

[if you are a recent convert to the Israelite religion, or an Israelite recently returning to faith, add the following:

 

Cleanse me of my past, forgive me for worshipping and serving other gods and other names, for now I pledge myself to your holy covenant with the whole house of Israel. Your Name alone do I worship, you alone are my God. ]

 

(Now be seated).

 

(Now read Psalm 88, and then Psalm 89:46-52)

 

Suggestions for reading during interval:

Exodus 32:1-35 - The Golden Calf

Exodus 34:1-8 - The Second Set of Tablets

Psalms 32, 51, 123

 

Second Service of Yom ha-Kippurim: Noon Service 12.00 pm

 

(with a taper light two candles from the memorial light. Then say):

 

In the days of the Temple, at the noon service on this holiest of days, the High Priest would again be dressed in his special white, linen garments, having bathed and washed his hands and feet again. He would approach the altar of sacrifice, and two assistants would bring out two goats. The goats were identical in their appearance, size and value.

 

On a small table in front of the High Priest was a wooden box, containing two golden plaques to be used to cast lots. On one was inscribed “For YHVH”, and on the other was inscribed, “For the Scapegoat”.

 

The High Priest put his hands inside the box, and shuffled the plaques inside. Then he would take hold of a plaque in each hand, and withdraw his hands from the box. This was meant to be done quickly, to show that the selection of lots was by chance – that he was not trying to work out which plaque was which. It was considered auspicious if the plaque marked “For YHVH” came out in his right hand.

 

The assistants would look to see which hand the lot for God was held in. If it was in the right hand, the assistant at his right would say, ‘My lord High Priest, raise up your right hand!’ and he would raise his right hand. But if the lot for God was in the left, then the assistant at his left would say, ‘My lord High Priest, raise up your left hand!’ and he would raise his left hand. This was how the people knew which hand the lot for YHVH was drawn with.

 

The High Priest would then hang whichever plaque was in his right hand on the head of the goat at his right; and whichever plaque came out in his left hand, he would hang on the head of the goat at his left.

 

When it came to placing the head-plaque inscribed with the Holy Name, he would say,

 

“A sin offering for YHVH”.

 

And the people would respond,

 

“Blessed be the name of YHVH; the glory of God’s kingdom is forever and ever.”

 

Then one of the assistants would tie a crimson red sash of fine wool around its neck. On the horns of the second goat the other assistant would tie another crimson sash.. This goat would later become the scapegoat for the sins of the people of Israel.

 

The two goats were then kept ready for the afternoon service.

 

The symbolism of being cleansed of one's sins before the fire of God's glory

Holy and Blessed YHVH, Saviour and Redeemer of every nation, hear my prayer. This day, over all other days, I remember my faults and wrongdoings, that I may be cleansed of them at the end of this day.

In the days of the Temple, our ancestors often did not realise that repentance, not sacrifices, prepared us for forgiveness; that prayer and good works, not blood, restored the wholeness of our souls. Therefore with a sorrowful and penitent heart, I approach the glory of YHVH, and open my heart to be cleansed of my sin.

Hear now, therefore my sins, that You may know my faults this day over all other days.

(Now with the paper symbolically inscribed with your sins in your left hand, quietly recount some of the sins you have recalled today).

 

(When you have finished, burn the paper. While the paper is burning, say):

 

Look with mercy upon me, O God and forgive me; burn away my sin by the fire of your glory.

(Keep the ashes, as you will later scatter them).

 

(Now read the whole of the Book of Jonah).

 

(end with):

 

“Inscribe us in the book of life.”

 

Blessed be YHVH forever. Amein.

 

 

Third Service of Yom ha-Kippurim: Afternoon Service 3.00 pm

(This is the biggest service of the whole day)

 

The second Atonement

 

(with a taper light two candles from the memorial light. Then say):

 

In the days of the Temple, at the main service on this holiest of days, the High Priest would remove his white linen robes - the attire of an ordinary priest. Then he would immerse. Then he would attire himself in the beautiful vestments of the High Priest: the white linen undertunic; the blue overtunic, trimmed around its hem with gold bells; the ephod woven in scarlet, blue and purple thread; the breastplate containing semi-precious stones, each inscribed with the names of all the tribes of Israel; the white linen turban of the High Priest; and finally the gold turban crest, inscribed with the words, 'Holy for YHVH'.

He would then come into the Temple. The young bull he had confessed his sins upon earlier would be brought forward. He would place his hands on the head of the bull, and pray for the sins of the priests of Israel, saying:

 

“I beseech you O YHVH!

We have strayed, we have committed wrongs,

we have grievously rebelled against you

- I, my household, and the sons of Aaron, your holy tribe.

I beseech you O YHVH,

pardon the errors, wrongdoings and rebellions

which we have committed against you

- I, my household, and the sons of Aaron, your holy tribe,

as it is written:

‘On this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before YHVH’.”

 

And the people responded:

 

“Blessed be the name of YHVH; the glory of God’s kingdom is forever and ever.”

 

Then all the people would bow, kneel, and go prostrate in awe before YHVH most merciful and compassionate.

 

(now bow, kneel, and then go prostrate and say quietly):

 

Forgive me my sins O God, and cleanse me. My sins have diminished me, and lessened the sum of my soul.

 

(now get up and be seated).

 

 

The High Priest then walked up the ramp leading to the great altar of sacrifice. He filled a gold fire-pan with burning coals from the altar, and then poured handfuls of pleasant aromatic incense into a separate golden vessel. Then, with the fire pan of coals in his right hand, and the vessel with incense in his left hand, he proceeded slowly towards the Sanctuary building.

 

Inside, before entering the Holy of Holies, the priests would tie a rope around the waist of the High Priest. Lest he should die while in the Holy of Holies, struck by the glory of God’s power, the priests would be able to pull him out.

 

The Holy of Holies was where the sacred Ark of the Covenant used to be kept, standing on a raised slab of stone – the ‘Foundation Stone’. This was the one and only day of the year anyone was allowed to enter this most sacred and holiest room of the Temple, and then only the High Priest.

 

Outside, while the High Priest was out of sight in the Sanctuary building, the people withdrew from proximity to it, and prayed in private and silent prayer.

The High Priest entered the Holy of Holies. He placed the fire-pan on the stone, and poured the special mixture of ground incense onto the smouldering coals. The Holy of Holies then filled with the beautiful fragrance of the aromatic smoke from the incense.

 

In the main hall of the Sanctuary, in front of the curtain outside the Holy of Holies, priests could hear the soft sounds of the tiny bells on the hem of the High Priest’s robe as he stepped back from the ark, to stand outside the inner curtain. They were thereby reassured that he was still alive.

 

The High Priest then prayed these words outside the inner curtain:

 

“May it please you, O YHVH our God, and the God of our ancestors, that neither this day nor during this year, any captivity should come upon us. Yet if captivity should befall us this day or this coming year, let it be to a place where Torah can be cultivated.

 

“May it please you, O YHVH our God, and the God of our ancestors, that neither want nor need shall come upon us, either this day or the coming year. But if want should visit us this day or this coming year, let it be due to the liberality of our charitable deeds.

 

“May it please you, O YHVH our God, and the God of our ancestors, that this year may be a year of fairness, of fullness, of commerce and of trade; a year with an abundance of rain, of sunshine, and of dew; one in which your people Israel shall not require assistance one from another. And listen not to the prayer of those setting off on a journey, who pray for it not to rain on them.

 

“As to your people Israel, may no enemy exalt themselves against us.

 

“And may it please you, O YHVH our God, and the God of our ancestors, that those who live on the plain of Sharon – in places of earthquake, flood-plains and flood-valleys – that their houses will not become their graves.”

 

Then the High Priest came out from behind the outer curtain of Holy of Holies, filled with reverent awe of God’s glory. Upon leaving the Sanctuary building, the people could once again see the High Priest. They breathed a sigh of relief, that he was still alive.

The High Priest exited the Sanctuary building.

(If you might be uncomfortable with the content of the next paragraph, leave it out)

He ascended the ramp of the altar of sacrifice. Offerings were made here of the bull, and of the goat designated for God. The High Priest then returned to the Holy of Holies, and ritually cast drops of blood towards where the ark used to be. By this ceremony, the priesthood and the people were cleansed of any unwitting defilement they had caused to the sanctuary or any of its parts. Then he exited the Sanctuary building once more.

 

The third Atonement

 

The High Priest went and stood between the main altar and the Sanctuary building. There he made atonement for the sins of the whole house of Israel – for all Israelites. He laid his hands on the scapegoat and said,

 

“I beseech you O YHVH!

they have strayed, they have committed wrongs,

they have grievously rebelled against you

- your people, the House of Israel.

I beseech you O YHVH,

pardon the errors, wrongdoings and rebellions

which they have committed against you

- your people, the House of Israel,

as it is written:

‘On this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before YHVH’.”

 

And the people responded:

 

“Blessed be the name of YHVH; the glory of God’s kingdom is forever and ever.”

 

Then all the people would bow, kneel, and go prostrate in awe before YHVH most merciful and compassionate.

 

(now bow, kneel, then go prostrate and say quietly):

 

Forgive me my sins O God, and cleanse me. My sins have diminished me, and lessened the sum of my soul.

 

(now get up and remain standing. Continue):

 

O YHVH, God of compassion, you alone know how exceedingly sorry I am for my errors and faults; how I wish that I had never committed them. They have caused pain to others, and I have also hurt my relationship with You, whom I love and adore above all that exists. Therefore hear me, for I am truly sorry for my wrongdoings. O YHVH, God of compassion, forgive me.

 

O YHVH, God of mercy, cleanse me of all my wrongdoings; cleanse me of any evil that is within me. Wash away the sins which are a stumbling block to my perfection; wash them away, never to be seen again. O YHVH, God of mercy, cleanse me.

 

O YHVH, God of forgiveness, let it be from this hour, as if I had never sinned; wipe away my past rebellions, as if I had never committed them. So with true sorrow, and pledging to do better, I ask for your forgiveness, and to purify me, and allow me to go forth renewed as if I had never sinned – as if my sins had never existed. O YHVH, God of forgiveness, heal me.

 

The scapegoat was then led out a distance of just over ten miles away from Jerusalem, to an uninhabited area, as it is written:

 

“it shall be led off to the wilderness by a man designated for the task. In this way the scapegoat shall carry on it all the wrongdoings of the people of Israel to an uninhabited region; and the goat shall be set free into the wilderness.”

(Lev 16:21-22)

 

Between the Temple and the wilderness, there were attended waystations 10 stadia apart, or just over one mile – half a Sabbath day’s journey. The station attendant would accompany the one escorting the scapegoat to the next, and then return to his own waystation. Once the escort had reached the wilderness, and released the scapegoat, a signal was sent back through the system of waystations, back to the Temple, to let the people and the priesthood know that the commandment had been carried out.

The tashlikh ceremony

(Take the ashes of the paper you burned. If you are near a body of running water, then gather by the water. If there is no water nearby, go outside, ready to scatter the ashes into the wind at the appropriate moment).

(First read Micah 7:18-20):

Who is a mighty God like you,

who absolves wrongdoings,

and forgives the rebellious acts

of the remnant of His inheritance?

He is not one to cause His righteous anger to remain forever,

but He delights in showing mercy.

He will again have compassion on us;

He will tread underfoot our wrongdoings,

and will hurl into the depths of the sea all our faults.

You will give truth to Jacob,

and mercy to Abraham,

just as you pledged to our ancestors,

in days long ago.

(Now read Exodus 34:5-6, the appearance of God's glory to Moses)

Then YHVH appeared in a cloud,

and remained there with Moses,

and he called out the name of YHVH.

And YHVH passed by in front of him.

And God called out, “I am YHVH!

YHVH, a compassionate and gracious God,

slow to anger,

and abundant in merciful love and faithfulness,

extending merciful love to the thousandth generation,

absolving wrongdoing,

and rebellion,

and the smallest fault.

Yet I will not leave the unrepentant unpunished,

pursuing the sinful blemish of one’s ancestors

as far as the children and grandchildren –

as far as the third and fourth generation.

(Now scatter the ashes into the water; or if not near any water, cast them into the wind, and say):

 

“In the face of Your glory, may my sins disappear like smoke, and my wrongdoings scatter like ash.”

Blessed be the Name of YHVH! Amein.

 

 

Suggestions for Interval before evening service:

It is now efficacious to contemplate the good things one hopes to achieve in the coming year. It is also useful to read stories of repentance and forgiveness, or anything which gives one a positive and hopeful frame of mind.

 

Concluding Service of Yom ha-Kippurim: Evening Service 6.00 pm

 

(Before the service, wash one’s hands and feet once, and dress in one’s finest white clothes)

 

(with a taper light two candles from the memorial light)

 

In the days of the Temple, to conclude the services on this holiest of days, the High Priest would bathe and wash his hands and feet. Then he would attire himself in his special white linen garments one last time. He proceeded to the steps outside the Nicanor gate, facing the Court of the Women. He would then read three portions from Torah – the three which refer to Yom ha-Kippurim – the Day of the Atonements, the Great Day.

 

The assistant priest presented the scroll of the 'Book of the Teaching of the Priests' to the High Priest. And he read out the whole of the sidra ‘aharey mot’.

 

(Read aloud Lev 16:1-34)

 

Then the High Priest read out the second portion, from near the end of the sidra ‘dibbeir’.

 

(Read aloud Lev 23:26-32)

 

Rolling up the scroll of the 'Book of the Teaching of the Priests', the High Priest held the scroll to his heart and said, (here, close your Bible and hold it to your heart)

 

“Much more than this, that I have read to you, is inscribed here.”

 

Lastly, the High Priest came to the portion from the 'Book of Numbers' which refers to the Great Day, from the sidra 'tsav'. However, this time, he recited the verses off by heart.

 

(Read aloud Num 29:7-11)

 

To conclude the prayers, the High Priest would then pray forgiveness of sin, the Temple, all Israelites, all priests, the Temple service, for Torah, thanksgiving, and a general prayer.

 

(As the prayers said at this point by the High Priest were specific to the time, the following replace them):

 

Modern concluding prayers

 

Forgiveness of sin

 

In your compassion you have forgiven us, in your mercy you have cleansed us, and in your love you have healed us. You have given us this day like no other, and shown us a way to lift ourselves above our faults and imperfections. May we never forget the power of prayer to effect forgiveness of sin, and purify the soul.

 

(All say): Praise be to You, O YHVH, who in Your mercy forgives the sins of Your people, Israel.

 

Temple

 

The Temple has not stood for centuries, yet it still has a hold on the Israelite soul! If ever the holy precincts should be rebuilt, let them not be rebuilt in conflict, but only through peace; may the sacred walls be sanctified by understanding, and not desecrated by anger; and may the nations rejoice forever at your holy mountain, and praise you forever in your courts!

 

(All say): Praise be to You, O YHVH, who dwells in Zion.

 

All Israelites

 

May the whole House of Israel know peace in their lifetime, and the congregation of Jacob no longer endure war. May the beauty of our ancient heritage be restored, and our standing among the nations regain their rightful place once more. In the land promised to our ancestors, and in the lands where we are scattered, may our communities grow strong and prosper, and become a boon to the nations we deal with.

 

(All say): Thanks be to You, O YHVH, who has chosen Israel to be Your light to the nations, as eternal witnesses to Your Presence.

 

All Priests

 

Bless the families of priests who still know their sacred ancestry, the line of Aaron and his descendents. May they continue to serve you in their daily lives.

 

(All say): Thanks be to You, O YHVH, who has sanctified the priesthood.

 

Temple service

 

The beautiful and moving Temple services are no longer with us. Therefore, lift up our hearts, and move us in times of prayer, so that we once more experience the awe and reverence that our ancestors were blessed with in Temple times. May our souls once more be empowered by the glory of your Presence, and our faith be strengthened by the power of your spirit.

 

(All say): Praise be to You, O YHVH, whose glory shone in Zion.

 

Torah

 

Whenever we study your Torah, give us insight and understanding, and help us to come to a true and living interpretation, rather than the traditions commanded falsely by men. Shape our hearts and our souls, so that we may come to live the ideals of Torah, and gain perfection through your words.

 

(All say): Praise be to You, O YHVH, Giver of Torah.

 

Thanksgiving

 

We thank you, O gracious and compassionate God, for all the bounty, both spiritual and temporal, that you have blessed us with.

 

(All say): Thanks be to You, O YHVH, who provides for our needs day by day.

 

General prayer

 

May all nations be blessed by your Presence, and come to know you as we know you. May we become a blessing to all the nations, and a vehicle of your teaching to the peoples of the earth. For you created all cultures, all peoples, and all are dear in your sight. Therefore look with compassion upon the entire human race this day, and forgive their failings.

 

(All say): Give help, O YHVH, to Your people Israel, and to all the nations in Your care, for we are all in need of Your help; thanks be to You, O YHVH, who hears our prayer.

 

(add whatever prayers you and your family deem suitable)

 

With all these prayer concluded, the High Priest bathed, washed his hands and feet, and once more donned the beautiful golden vestments of the High Priest. Then he presented himself before the people, to conclude the services of the day. He entered the Sanctuary building to burn incense on the golden altar. Then he trimmed the wicks of the lamps on the menorah and lit them.

(Now read Jeremiah 31:31-34 ‘The renewed Covenant’)

Psalms of Praise and Thanksgiving

 

(Now read Psalms 95:1-7a,

96:1-13,

97:10-12,

98:1-9)

 

 

(At about 7:25pm, blow shofar three times)

 

“Then the sons of Aaron shouted, they sounded the trumpets of hammered work, they made a great noise to be heard as a reminder in the presence of the Most High.

 

“And the singers praised God with their voices in sweet and full-toned melody.

 

“Then [the High Priest] came down, and lifted up his hands over the whole congregation of the children of Israel, to pronounce the priestly blessing with his lips, and to glory in God’s Name.

(Book of Ben Sira, selected portions from chapter 50)

 

y'varekh'kha YHVH ve-yishm'rekha
ya'eir YHVH panav eilekha vichunekha
yissa YHVH panav eileykha ve-yaseim l'kha shalom

May YHVH bless you and watch over you;
May YHVH deal favourably with you and be merciful to you;
May YHVH turn good fortune towards you and grant you peace

 

On this day, through your repentance and prayers, atonement has been made for you to restore you and make you whole; from all your sins you are now clean before YHVH.

 

The services are ended; we have been cleansed and made whole. Let us go forward from this day, prepared anew as witnesses to YHVH's power and presence.

Blessed be YHVH forever!

All say:

Amein!

 

 

 

 

 

   
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