25 September 2012
9 Tishri, 5773
Gmar Hatima Tova
May you have an easy fast
Five Minutes for Israel
For those a little confused
Yom Kippur, literally Day of Atonement. A day set aside for fasting, depriving oneself of pleasures, and repenting from the sins of the previous year. Happy Yom Kippur is therefore the wrong greeting and Merry Yom Kippur should be left with the tinsel and mistletoe that some Israeli Jews use to decorate their Sukkah, on the festival of Sukkot AKA as Tabernacles (no explanation following of the festival or the joke). It is the premier Jewish festival even if not festive and most Jews, even those who consider themselves secular pay it respect. So much so that in some places the minimum for observance for someone calling themselves Jewish is to go to synagogue at least for the opening and closing prayers. Most Jews refrain from eating or drinking anything, and that includes water, from before sunset on the previous day to sunset on the following.
The need to make a public display of Jewish identification is less in Israel but the streets are practically empty of vehiclesand every Jewish establishment is closed, a situation not completely duplicated on any othwer day.
The correct greeting is Hatima Tova, literally a good signing, referring to the belief that in the ten days between Rosh Hashana (New Year) and Yom Kippur God judges everyone’s actions, good and bad, and assigns their future. They are then signed and sealed in the Book of Life. Naturally we wish them the best possible result.
On the day itself it is customary to greet with Gmar Hatima Tova to indicate that we hope God has already decided that next year to them will be a good year.
A less formal greeting is Tzom Kal, literally an easy fast. This is often used in English as Well over the Fast. Going without food or drink for an entire day and night can be difficult particularly on a hot day, so we hope it will pass easily.
So what about the card?
I was looking to make a non religious card for a religious holiday. Yom Kippur, by contrast with every other festival, is not defined by food. An empty plate.
Yom Kippur (Chabad organisation)