Yom Kippur and Affliction
I came across a post on a website that had the following title: ‘4 Little-Known Rules For Observing Yom Kippur.’ The post went on to identify the rules that the writer said should be followed in observing this Holy Day. They stated to wear white as a sign of purity, abstain from sex, abstain from wearing leather shoes, abstain from eating and drinking among other things. The question begs to be asked, are these rules of men or God? I believe the answer is men. Messiah dealt with this when he challenged the leaders of his day about elevating man made rules to be equal or greater than the Commandments of God.
I searched the meaning of ‘afflict’ on a website called www.blueletterbible.org which gave the Hebrew definition of afflict. Among other things, the definition included humbling ourselves, and submitting. I see this as two fold, humbling ourselves before others by asking them to forgive us. And if after searching our hearts over the past year, we submit to God’s Commandment to forgive others who have sinned, or violated Torah against us. This is referenced by Messiah twice, first when he gives us the Lord’s Prayer.
Forgive us when we sin against others
As we forgive those who sin against us
Messiah breaks the whole issue down further when he makes the following statement from Matthew.
For if you forgive men their sins against you
They are forgiven.
But if you do not forgive men their sins,
Neither will your Father forgive your sins.
These are very strong words and they are Commandments of God. These two verses sum up the essence of Yom Kippur. It is a time to reflect on my treatment of God and others for the past year and seek God and others to find out if I am guilty of sinning against anyone. If it is brought to my attention that I am indeed guilty of sin, then I must reconcile and make restitution for my wrongdoing. This process, to me, makes much more sense than an outward expression of fasting or any other physical act.
Today, I compiled my list and approached a neighbor of mine to ask their forgiveness for something I said to her. I apologized to her for my comment to her that was sinful and very disrespectful. If we want to observe Yom Kippur in the Spirit of the Day, then we have to look at its deeper meaning. A white shirt or a fast of food and water does nothing to suffice for any wrongdoing to others or forgiving others for wrongdoing against us.