This year, the Jewish holiday (‘holy day’) of Yom Kippur begins today [Friday, 29 September] at sundown and ends tomorrow [Saturday, 30 September] at sundown. In the traditional Jewish calendar, any given day begins and ends at sunset. There is a reason, but is immaterial to this essay.
Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement” and is the formal remembrance of each individual’s need to atone – make amends or reparation; and includes sorrow for committing deeds of hatred and bearing attitudes of hatred, greed or anything else to diminish either other persons or the Lord Most Holy by disgracing His reputation by one’s improper actions.
As I may have mentioned, I am a practicing Christian. As such, I must always bear in mind the Jewish background of Christianity. I also must constantly monitor my behavior and attitudes in light of what the Lord Most Holy expects of me.
So I don’t expect Yom Kippur to be incorporated as a regular Christian holiday. However, the essence of Yom Kippur is part and parcel of Christian doctrine (if nothing else, check Matthew 5:21-26 for Jesus’ directions about dealing with others in this light). Christians are expected to atone daily, actually ‘as needed’, not just once every so often. (I rather expect practicing Jews see this in a similar fashion.)
For my part, not all those I have offended, attacked (verbally, usually) or wished evil upon are close enough to personally apologize. But I would like to. So while I cannot remove all the harm I have done or intended, I can say I regret doing so. And I intend to make the attempt to live closer to what the Almighty orders in the future.
The Hebrew language word translated into English as “shalom” generally is thought of as ‘peace’. It is, but as so many foreign language words, it actually means more. It conveys the idea of peace, but more than just absence of conflict or violence. It also indicates contentment, serenity, prosperity (more than just money) and living in accord with the Lord Most High. Probably more than that.
Saying ‘shalom’ as a greeting actually means bestowing all those things on the recipient. (Not that mere humans can do such, but the speaker is petitioning the Almighty to bestow such on the recipient.)
Therefore, “peace” – in that sense – to you all.