Question: What limitations (restrictions) are performed on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)?
This is why on Yom Kippur we don’t drink, eat, wear clothing and shoes made of leather, anoint ourselves with aromatic substances, nor cut or comb our hair.
Question: Where did the Kabbalists get these symbols from? For example, what does the prohibition on wearing leather clothes and shoes symbolize?
Answer: In the past, all clothing was made almost exclusively from leather or wool. When Kabbalists reveal spirituality, they see that they can only use their small spiritual states, i.e., the tools called Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama.
The degrees of Haya and Yechida, which symbolize skin and wool, cannot be used. This is why there is such a custom. It especially applies to shoes because shoes are considered the last, lowest level of our spiritual body.
In other words, the Kabbalist, from his attainment, sees analogies of the connection between the root and the branch, that a certain type of desire, called “skin” is a type of communication with the Creator, which he cannot use in this world.
Question: Is this how all the customs of our holidays came about?
Answer: Yes. Everything that we discover in the spiritual world, we try to implement in symbols of our world.
Question: I always thought, what difference does it make to the Creator what I eat or what shoes I wear?
Answer: There is no difference. Therefore, it is said that the commandments are given only to correct a person and the Creator is absolutely indifferent to what you do physically with your hands and legs.
Kabbalists say that of primal importance for us is the correction of our egoism. This is what was created and it is what we need to correct.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 1/29/19