On Yom Kippur we are freed from all material concerns, and can devote
the day to prayer.
We begin the evening service with the chanting of "Kol Nidrei," which
absolves us of any vows we may make in the coming year.
During each main prayer throughout Yom Kippur, we recite the "Viduy"
(confession), enumerating all the sins we any vows we may have
committed, and ask for G-d's forgiveness.
The final prayer of the day, as our judgment for the coming year is
being sealed, is called "Ne'ilah."
Ne'ilah is the only service of the entire year during which the doors
of the Ark remain open from beginning to end. This signifies that the
gates of prayer in heaven are wide open to us at this time.
Ne'ilah culminates with the "Shema Yisrael" and other verses said in
unison, and the final blowing of the shofar.
One of the most moving parts of the Yom Kippur service is the
recounting of the Service of the Kohen Gadol - the High Priest.
On this, the holiest day of the year, the holiest man in the world
would enter the holiest place on earth - the Kodesh HaKadoshim of
the Temple in Jerusalem - to pray on behalf of his people.
When he emerged from the Holy of Holies, the liturgy tells us, he
was radiant, "like the iridescence of the rainbow... like a rose
in a garden of delight...like the morningstar sparkling on the
For additional information and insights to Yom Kippur, please see the
Essays on Yom Kippur.