What Is the Best Thing to Say to Someone for Yom Kippur? The Main Purpose of Yom Kippur and Why It's Important

by 24USATVSept. 7, 2021, 10 p.m. 22
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Yom Kippur is one of the holiest days of the Jewish year, but those who don’t participate in the Jewish faith know pretty little about it: It isn’t as bright and festive as Hanukkah, nor is it as publicized as Passover. What is the main purpose of Yom Kippur, why is it important and what is the best thing to say to someone for Yom Kippur, or what is the proper Yom Kipuur greetings? Learn the ins and outs of the Day of Atonement here and never have an awkward “Happy Yom Kippur!” moment again.

What is the main purpose of Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur is a period of atonement for the Jewish community. It is a solemn period of fasting, not just from food, but also bathing, physical contact and work. It is considered the holiest day in the Jewish year.

Related: When Is Yom Kippur 2021? When Is Sukkot 2021? Everything to Know About These Jewish Holidays

What is Yom Kippur and why is it important?

Yom Kippur is a holy day marked by fasting, sacrifice and charity. The period is to be spent in prayer and asking for forgiveness for transgressions. The week before Yom Kippur is known as the 10 Days of Repentance and features special prayers. Yom Kippur is the final Day of Repentance.

In Jewish belief, after the Israelites fled and escaped Egypt, they worshiped a golden calf — a big no-no according to the 10 Commandments. This led Moses (the same mensch who led the Israelites out of Egypt) to climb Mt. Sinai to ask God to forgive them. God only relented following two 40-day periods at the peak of Mt. Sinai. Yom Kippur honors the day Moses came down from the mountain after God forgave the Israelites.

Related: What Is Rosh Hashanah? All About the Jewish New Year, Plus 15 Rosh Hashanah Greetings

What is the best thing to say to someone for Yom Kippur?

Many people who celebrate Yom Kippur may not necessarily get salty if you say “Happy Yom Kippur,” it doesn’t quite fit the tone of the somber, reflective holiday. These Yom Kippur greetings both honor the tone of the holiday while also remaining festive for the ongoing Jewish New Year celebrations.

Related: 10 Traditional Jewish Recipes That Work for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah

19. “May you be sealed in the Book of Life.”

What does Yom Kippur literally mean?

In Hebrew, “Yom Kippur” translates literally to “Day of Atonement.”

Next, celebrate the Jewish New Year with Andrew Zimmern’s Noodle Kugel!

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