Yom Kippur, May You Be Sealed in the Book of Life

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On this highest of holy days, we wish you G’mar hatimah tovah, may you be sealed for a good year. Have a safe and easy fast.

Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement—is considered the most important holiday in the Jewish faith. Falling in the month of Tishrei, it marks the culmination of the 10 Days of Awe, a period of introspection and repentance that follows Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

“Who by Fire” was written by Leonard Cohen, inspired by the Yom Kippur prayer Unetane tokef.  This song was written following Leonard Cohen’s experience singing in front of Israeli soldiers in the frontier in the Yom Kippur war in 1973.

From the liturgy of the Day of Atonement, there is this prayer. Rosh Hashanah is the New Year in the Jewish liturgy. The Book of Life contains the fate of every sinner. Ten days later, at Yom Kippur, depending on whether the sinner repents or not, his fate is sealed. On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed.
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed
How many shall die and how many shall be born
Who shall live and who shall die
Who at the measure of days and who before
Who by fire and who by water
Who by the sword and who by wild beasts
Who by hunger and who by thirst
Who by earthquake and who by plague
Who by strangling and who by stoning
Who shall have rest and who shall go wandering
Who will be tranquil and who shall be harassed
Who shall be at ease and who shall be afflicted
Who shall become poor and who shall become rich
Who shall be brought low and who shall be raised high.

The existence of a Book Of life (Book of Living) first appears in Exodus Chap. 32. Moses asking God atonement for his people. Lord said him “Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” In Psalm 69 (verse 28), David prays the Lord for the sinners: “.. Let them be blotted out of the book of life.”


TribuneYom Kippur, May You Be Sealed in the Book of Life

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