Yom Kippur begins Tuesday evening, Oct. 8, wherein the western world will watch in awe as “pious Jews” allegedly “beg God for forgiveness” while supposedly “striving for righteousness.” No doubt that the Pope of Rome and the heads of the Protestant fundamentalist churches will convey their esteem for the Yom Kippur ceremony as performed by “God’s people.”
On Yom Kippur the infamous Kol Nidrei prayer is recited, almost always explained away to the public as a blessed ceremony of begging God for forgiveness for oaths that were violated, contracts that were broken and promises that were not kept in the past year. The trouble is, that pious picture is a phony.
In truth, Kol Nidrei is a ceremony whereby:
1. All the perjury you will commit in the coming year and
2. All contracts you will sign and violate in the coming year, and
3. All the promises you will break in the coming year
— are absolved, with no heavenly punishment accruing as a result.
That’s the reality of Yom Kippur’s Kol Nidrei rite, and it’s one reason why Yom Kippur is the best-attended of all of Judaism’s synagogue ceremonies. Talmudists like to have an edge and during Yom Kippur that entails making God a senior partner in the sting.