Afflict yourself on the Day of Atonement

The Literal Commandment

"This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you; for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD. (Leviticus 16:29)

 

The literal commandment is that we should "humble our souls" on the Day of Atonement.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

This commandment pictures Messiah's affliction when He was killed for our transgressions.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled this commandment by humbling His soul on the Day of Atonement.

 

Traditional Observance

The traditional observance of this commandment involves abstaining from eating food, drinking water, marital relations, bathing, or wearing leather shoes, belts, etc (which was a sign of luxury). This understanding came from the Hebrew word (anah) that is translated as "humble". In Psalm 35, King David writes that he "humbled his soul" with fasting, prayer, and humble clothing (sackcloth).

The goal was to suppress the desires of our flesh as we prepare to draw near to G-d on His day of our atonement.

  • Eating and drinking satisfy our physical hunger for physical sustenance.
  • Marital relations satisfy our physical hunger for physical intimacy.
  • Bathing satisfies our physical hunger for physical cleanliness.
  • Wearing leather shoes/belts/etc satisfies our physical desire for physical success and riches.

 

By actively controlling and suppressing these physical desires, we allow our spiritual desires (which require a spiritual fulfillment) to surface which lead us to the only source of that spiritual fulfillment: G-d.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment and should afflict ourselves on the Day of Atonement.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 94
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 3
  • Mishneh Torah Book Times
  • Mishneh Torah Category 13- Rest on the Tenth of Tishri
  • Reference Leviticus 16:29
  • Scripture Book Leviticus
  • Chapter 16
  • Verse 29
  • English This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;
  • Hebrew כט וְהָיְתָה לָכֶם, לְחֻקַּת עוֹלָם: בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בֶּעָשׂוֹר לַחֹדֶשׁ תְּעַנּוּ אֶת-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם, וְכָל-מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ--הָאֶזְרָח, וְהַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתוֹכְכֶם.
  • Greek 29 Καὶ ἔσται τοῦτο ὑμῖν νόμιμον αἰώνιον· ἐν τῷ μηνὶ τῷ ἑβδόμῳ δεκάτῃ τοῦ μηνὸς ταπεινώσατε τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν καὶ πᾶν ἔργον οὐ ποιήσετε, ὁ αὐτόχθων καὶ ὁ προσήλυτος ὁ προσκείμενος ἐν ὑμῖν.
  • Parashah 29- Acharei Mot
  • Positive/Negative Positive
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 313
  • Sef. Hach. Reference Leviticus 23:27
  • Sef. Hach. Command The precept of fasting on the tenth of Tishri
  • Category Appointed Times
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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