The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)

The Day of Atonement is considered the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.  According to tradition, it is the day on which G-d makes and seals the final decision on who will live and who will die in the coming year.  

In traditional practice, this is a fast day, with prayer and repentance for 24 hours, on the 10th day of the 7th month (Tishrei 10) ending with the visibility of the third star in the sky.

The Jewish calendar is lunar, which means the 10th day of Tishrei can occur anywhere from beginning of September to the beginning of October, depending on the year of the Jewish calendar.

Although the holiday is referred to as Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), in the Torah, it is referred to the as Yom Kippurim (Day of Atonements).


The Yom Kippur citations in the  Torah and Talmud are:


Leviticus 16:29 - "And it will be for you as a law for eternity; in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, you will afflict your souls, and all the work you will not do, the native or the stranger who lives in your midst."

Leviticus 23:27 - "Also, on the tenth of this seventh month, a Day of Atonements, a holy gather it will be to you, and you will afflict your souls, and you will make an offering of fire to YHVH."

Leviticus 25:9 - "And you will bring a ram's horn to sound in the seventh month on the tenth of the month on the Day of Atonements; you will bring the ram's horn through all your land."

Number 29:7 - And on the tenth of the month, in the seventh [month] it will be a holy assembly for you, and you afflict your souls; all the work you will not do."


Tractate Yoma of the Babylonian Talmud includes the rules and ordinances for the Day of Atonement, include the animal sacrifices (a practice no longer performed).