Grief, Death and Yom Kippur
Death and grief find meaning for Jewish people during Yom Kippur. It is a day of atonement but through that also a day where mortality is recognized.
In the article below, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz discusses the importance of Yom Kippur and its relationship with death and grief in the article ” An Encounter with Death and Life”. (Found in the JewishJournal.com)
Mitah v’Yom HaKippurim Michaprin.” The two ways to truly atone are Death and Yom Kippur. But are the two really so different? On Yom Kippur, we reject food and drink, similar to one close to death. We say vidui (our confessions) just like someone preparing to die. Many wear white on Yom Kippur—the kittel, the same plain shroud that one will be buried in. We remove ourselves from leather shoes, bathing, anointing, and marital relations on Yom Kippur again as though we are mourners. Our lives are lived in our bodies. On Yom Kippur we step out of our bodies as if we were gone. We visit the cemetery at this time to honor those who have passed away and to soften our hearts to our mortality. We ask ourselves on Yom Kippur in Unetaneh Tokef: “who shall live and who shall die.”
To read the entire article, please click here
To learn more about death, dying and grief counseling, please review the program in grief counseling training and click here
Mark Moran, MA