Although Yom Kippur is an intense holiday it is nevertheless viewed as a happy day. Those who observe the holiday properly will have made peace with others and with God.
Yom Kippur commemorates the day when God forgave the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf. Forty days after hearing God say at Mount Sinai, “You shall not have the gods of others in My presence; you shall not make for yourself a graven image,” the Jews committed the cardinal sin of idolatry. Moses spent nearly three months on top of the mountain pleading with God for forgiveness, and on the 10th of Tishrei it was finally granted: “I have pardoned, as you have requested.”
From that moment on, this date, henceforth known as the Day of Atonement, is annually observed as a commemoration of this special relationship with God, strong enough to survive any rocky bumps it might encounter. And while it is the most solemn day of the year, Jews are also joyful, confident that God will forgive their sins and seal their verdict for a year of life, health and happiness. The day is marked by prayer, works of charity, temple services and a ceremonial meal.
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