What Is Yom Kippur Really About?

The (Surprising) Meaning & Purpose Of Yom Kippur

Rabbi David Fohrman
Rabbi David Fohrman

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What does Yom Kippur really mean? After all, Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement but we also define it as one of the Days of Awe – but what does forgiveness of our sins have to do with awe? How are we supposed to understand the spiritual purpose of Yom Kippur?

In Parshat Acharei Mot, it explains that Yom Kippur is the one day of the year we can directly connect with God, recreating the experiences of Sinai and the tabernacle. In this video, Rabbi Fohrman explains how it is through this contact with God that we are purified of our sins and we emerge reborn and pure on Yom Kippur.

Through this perspective, we start to see that the primary purpose of Yom Kippur is to let God envelop us with His presence, and that forgiveness is just a byproduct or secondary purpose. There is no magic wand or holy day that automatically wipes away our sins, but we can find forgiveness through a closeness with God and our efforts to let go of our sins.

Join Rabbi Fohrman as he challenges our understanding of what Yom Kippur means.