On The holiest day of the Jewish year, a surprise joint attack by Egypt and Syria crossing the cease-fire lines in the Sinai and Golan Heights threatened the very existence of the Jewish state. 2,586 Israeli soldiers were killed and thousands more wounded.
What is ‘Yom-Kippur’? (Day of Atonement)
FIVE ASPECTS – There are five areas of physical involvement which we remove ourselves from on Yom-Kippur. They are:
- Eating and Drinking
- Applying oils or lotions to the skin
- Marital Relations
- Wearing Leather Shoes
Throughout the year, many people spend their days focusing on food, work, superficial material possessions (symbolized by shoes) and superficial pleasures (symbolized by anointing). On Yom-Kippur, we restore our priorities to what really counts in life. As Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler writes:
“On Yom-Kippur, the power of the evil inclination is muted. Therefore, one’s yearning for spiritual elevation reasserts itself, after having lain dormant as a result of sin’s deadening effect on the soul. This rejuvenation of purpose entitles a person to special consideration and forgiveness.”
TESHUVA AND FORGIVENESS
Following the Golden Calf, Moses pleaded with God to forgive the people. Finally on Yom-Kippur, atonement was achieved and Moses brought the second set of Tablets down from Mount Sinai. From that day forward, every Yom-Kippur has carried with it a special power to cleanse the mistakes of Jews (both individually and collectively) and to wipe the slate clean.
Though while Yom-Kippur atones for transgressions against God, this does not include wrongs committed against other human beings. It is therefore the universal Jewish custom – some time before Yom-Kippur — to apologize and seek forgiveness from any friends, relative, or acquaintances whom we may have harmed or insulted over the past year.
Surprise attack by Egypt
In ‘Yom-Kippur’ 1973, Saturday at 13:55, 200 Egyptian fighters crossed the Suez line and bombarded airfields, anti aircraft batteries, military camps, facilities, units, radars, and artillery posts in Sinai.
At the same time heavy artillery bombarding started on all ‘Bar-Lev’ posts (a line of Israeli posts on the Suez Canal).
The bombarding came from steep trajectory from 200 canons and ‘frog’ ground-ground missiles.
At 14:00 flat trajectory artillery direct and accurate bombarding started on our posts. Thousands of tons of explosives showered on the surprised Israelis along the Suez Canal.
Along the front line, approximately 175 kilometers, the bombarding continued. In the first bombarding moment 10,500 shells fell in a rate of 175 shells per second.
More than 3000 tons of destruction fell on few posts in fire curtain turning the Suez Canal bank into hell for 53 minutes.
The IDF defense plans were based on the assumption that the water line obstacle in the front line (require overcoming on high soil batteries and placing bridges) shall live enough time to bring the armed reserve to the canal line and recruit the reserve forces to the front. According to the drills, the posts commanders could call for artillery fire and air support. Tank forces held 20-30 kilometers from the canal should hurry to the front line to assist in breaking the attacks. But in fact, in the beginning of the bombarding and under its cover, the first Egyptian troops already began crossing the Suez Canal.
All 16 manned posts along the Bar-Lev line were attacked by heavy shelling followed by Egyptian commando raids.
In part of the posts soldiers attempted to escape on foot or by vehicle after one or two fighting days, having to move through the enemy lines. Most of them were killed or held hostage.
A total number of 2,569 Israeli soldiers were killed in ‘Yom-Kippur’ war, 301 were held hostage and about 7,500 were wounded. In the Egyptian side 10,000 soldiers were killed and 8,000 held hostage. More than 4,000 Syrian soldiers were killed.