Shabbat and Yom Kippur

October 3, 2014

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, October 3, 2014.

Shabbat and Yom Kippur

This Shabbat is Yom Kippur! Did you know that Yom Kippur can never be on a Friday or a Sunday? It was always considered so Holy, and the fast on Yom Kippur also the epitome of holiness, that the entire Hebrew Calendar is manipulated in the most complicated way – including two months that can be either 28 OR 29 days, adding or subtracting a day in order to assure that Passover starts on certain days of the week, which would mean that Yom Kippur would never be on a Friday or a Sunday! The Rabbis thought that a Sunday or a Friday Yom Kippur would interfere with both fasting on the holiday, and eating on the Sabbath. Fasting on the Sabbath would be manageable since you could prepare food on Friday and eat it before sunset which marks the beginning of the holiday, or you could fast until sunset on Saturday night, and then cook a break-fast dinner. But how do you prepare a breakfast that is also a celebratory Shabbat meal, if Yom Kippur is on a Friday? And how do you transition properly from Shabbat to a Saturday night beginning of the secular week? I know – when you start trying to think this all through, the mind spins.

Of course, on Shabbat you can still greet people with “Shabbat Shalom,” {“have a peaceful Shabbat”) but two other greetings are special for Yom Kippur: “Gmar Chatimah Tovah” – “Be sealed for good (in the book of life),” and “Tzom Kal” – “May you have an easy fast.” And, of course, at this season, it’s always appropriate to wish people a “Happy New Year.”

Shabbat Shalom and Gmar Chatimah Tovah