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How should we ask for forgiveness leading up to Yom Kippur?

On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, we ask God for forgiveness for our spiritual sins. But in the days leading up to Yom Kippur, we are asked to approach people we may have hurt over the past year.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you do so:

-Only ask for forgiveness of someone if you truly mean it.

-When asking for forgiveness, ask sincerely. Don't make excuses for your mistakes.

-If someone doesn't accept your apology, if possible, ask up to two more times. If three requests for forgiveness are not accepted, you are absolved of your responsibility to ask.

And, of course, when someone asks for your forgiveness, try to open your heart to accept their heartfelt words.

"The entire world is a very narrow bridge - the key is to not be afraid." -Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

Why is it traditional to give to the hungry before Yom Kippur?

In the Haftarah (prophetic portion) we read on the morning of Yom Kippur, the prophet Isaiah teaches:

Is such the fast I desire, a day for men to starve their bodies? Is it bowing the head like a bulrush and lying in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call that a fast, a day when the LORD is favorable? No, this is the fast I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free; to break off every yoke. It is to share your bread with the hungry, and to take the wretched poor into your home; when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to ignore your own kin.

Thus, in the days leading up to Yom Kippur, we fulfill this demand by participating in Project Isaiah. We encourage you to bring non-perishable food to the synagogue, which we will pass along to the Kosher Food Pantry.

In addition, once again, our COSY teens will be stationed in front of the sanctuary in the minutes leading up to our Kol Nidre service on Tuesday, October 8th. We ask that you empty your pockets of spare change at that time; the money collected will be given to the chapter's Tikun Olam (charitable) fund.

"The entire world is a very narrow bridge - the key is to not be afraid." -Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

Why do we repeat some high holiday prayers SO many times?

The traditional Jewish practice is to pray three times a day. In addition, when we gather for prayer, we often recite more than one service at each meeting; hence, on a Shabbat and holiday morning, we recite both Shaharit (morning) and Musaf (special additional service) services, and on an afternoon gathering, we usually recite both Minha (afternoon) and Ma'ariv (evening) services. Hence, many of the most familiar prayers seem to be said over and over again, sometimes more than once at each prayer session.

How can we deal with this apparent redundancy? Keep in mind that even if we recite the same words repeatedly, each time we say them, we are at least a slightly different version of ourselves. Therefore, every time we pray, we bring a different emotion and perspective to our relationship with God and the words in our prayer books.

We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

Thu, January 23 2020 26 Tevet 5780