Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Days before Yom Kippur


This Yom Kippur is falling on a Shabbat and thus causing us additional prayers during the service. Sorry, for thinking so terribly attached to the physical world but I am just being realistic. However, the worst thing for me on Yom Kippur is not the lack of food but rather the lack of a good cup of coffee.

The special custom of this week is visiting the graves of the Zaddikim (Righteous). This already took place in the days of the Geonim (Talmudic Rabbis, approx. 650 - 1000 after the beginning of the Common Era). Jews don't pray to the dead Zaddik himself but may ask his soul for help to change G - d's mind regarding the final verdict on Yom Kippur.

I enjoyed myself when I went to the famous Safed (Zfat) cemetery on Sunday morning. Unfortunately I didn't have too much time to say a few Tehillim (Psalms), as my bus to Jerusalem was leaving.

Another Israeli custom is "going to the Kotel (Western Wall) at night in order to say Selichot. Jews from all over the country are there and they especially coming by bus in groups. Some Haredim are already upset because of the missing modesty because many secular women just run in dresses with something which looks like "mini".

I didn't have a real Rosh HaShana feeling this year. The reason may have been that I stayed in Safed with a huge group of Jews from all over Israel. People screaming, kids yelling and rushing from one event in one room to the next. Eventually the feeling came but now for Yom Kippur it is different. Tomorrow afternoon I am taking off to the grave of a very famous Zaddik: The Rambam (Maimonides, 1135 - 1204) in Tiberias.

I will be back in Jerusalem for Yom Kippur and hope that everything is going to work out. This Friday is not a regular Friday, as due to Yom Kippur, buses stop running at about 2pm and shops will be closed by 2.30pm.

Whoever wants to face a great Jewish scene:
Be at the Kotel an hour before Yom Kippur ends and see thousands of Jews praying the Ne'ilah service. Then G - d will be closing the gates, so to speak, and may have made His final judgement over every single Jew.

Anyway, my favourite holiday is Sukkot and I am very much looking forward to that. Traveling to some further Jewish sites and going to chassidic Tishes in Bnei Brak as well as in Mea Shearim. 


YOM KIPPUR is a Jewish holiday and Gentiles have nothing to do with this holiday ! Whereas Rosh HaShana was for Jews and Gentiles because G - d was judging the world, on Yom Kippur only Jews are being judged !


  1. While in Tiberias try and visit the grave of Rabbi Meir Balla Haness. I went once and it was a tremendously spiritual experience. Sefardim were lighting candles and burning incense. Seven years later I can still visual it.

  2. B"H

    Actually I preferred the grave of the RAMBAM because Rabbi Me'ir Baal HaNess is always crowded.:-)))