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The practice of throwing dust upon the head symbolizes humility and repentance. By casting the dust over one's head, they are equating themselves to the same level as the dust of the earth and are seeking God's pity and forgiveness. The Hebrew word translated as 'dust' and 'ashes' is עָפָר "a'phar". In Esther, it uses the word אֵפֶר "e'pher&...

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