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    Closing the gates – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why is the final service on Yom Kippur called Ne’ilah?

    palace gatesA. The word means “closing”. The full name is Ne’ilat She’arim, “the closing of the gates” (Mishnah Ta’anit chapter 4).

    The Talmudic rabbis differed as to the identification of the gates. According to Rav, it was the gates of the day: a metaphorical use of the term. Rabbi Yochanan understood the name more literally as the closing of the Temple gates at the end of each day.

    Other sources, however, point out that the gates of prayer are never closed, and even when the gates of prayer seem closed, the gates of tears are always open.

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