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Mitzvah/Concept 93 Yom Kippur Part Two Print E-mail

Yom KippurMelechet Machashevet
Moses came down with the Second Tablets on Yom Kippur. They were a sign that we were forgiven for the sin of the


Golden Calf and that the relationship had been restored. The First Tablets were carved by God; “When He finished speaking to him on Mt. Sinai, He gave Moses the two Tablets of Testimony, stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God.”1 The stone on which the Second Tablets were written were carved by Moses; “God said to Moses, ‘Carve for yourself two stone tablets.”2 It was human work that helped achieve atonement. This human effort continued with the construction of the Tabernacle and the work involved was called Melechet Machashevet, work of thought, with a designed purpose. That is exactly the work that is prohibited on Yom Kippur. The atonement and purification that come on Yom Kippur are not the result of our physical labors. They are beyond human ability. Atonement and purification can be only be achieved through Teshuva and prayer, understanding that they are a gift from God and reaching to God for those gifts.

1 Exodus 31:18

2 ibid 34:1

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