Erev Yom Kippur:
- During Shacharis, Psalm 100 [Mizmor Lesoda], Tachanun, and Psalm 20 [Lamenatzayach] are
not said. This year, Avinu Malkeinu is not said.
- It is customary to perform the “Kaparos” ceremony. One takes a chicken or rooster and waves
it over one’s head three times while saying the prayer, which is found on pg. 2-4 in the Artscroll
Machzor. The bird is then slaughtered and given to poor people. Alternatively, one can use
- Ideally “Kaparos” should be done on Erev Yom Kippur, but if one thinks that he will be pressed
for time it may be done between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
- Ideally separate chickens should be used for each family member, but in times of need, it may
be used several times.
- It is a Mitzvah to eat on Erev Yom Kippur. The main custom is to eat two festive meat meals,
once around midday and again during the afternoon. It is preferable to eat chicken at these
meals. Some have a custom to eat fish also at the first meal. It is customary to eat “kreplach” –
- It is absolutely imperative that one receives forgiveness for sins committed against other
people. This includes all forms of interpersonal offences such as hurtful remarks, slander,
damages, overdue debts, dishonesty in business, not respecting parents and teachers, etc.
- Ideally, one should ask personally by going to the person or via mail or telephone. However, if
this is difficult, or if the person will be appeased more easily by another person, then one may
make use of a third party.
- Ideally, one should specify the sin he is asking forgiveness of. However, if one thinks that doing
so would upset the other person, one may ask in a general way.
- It is wrong to be cruel and refuse to forgive.
- All men are obliged to go to the Mikveh. They should optimally go between one hour
before Halachik Midday day [12:08 PM] and Mincha [Mincha in our Shul will be at 3:00
- Due to Covid-19 and a potential overcrowding, the minhag for men to use the mikvah
before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur may also be fulfilled by taking a shower at
home (this leniency would not apply to women who have to use the mikvah for family
12.It is customary to dress for Yom Tov before Mincha.
13.During Mincha, the “Viduy” [confession] is said at the end of the quiet Amidah. See Artscroll
Machzor pg. 8-24.
14.The final meal before Yom Kippur is called the “Seudah Hamafsekes.” It preferably should be
eaten after one has said Mincha. One should eat light foods that are easy to digest. The
custom is to eat chicken rather than beef. The main custom is to refrain from eating fish,
although some permit eating cold fish. It is advisable not to eat hot spicy foods, eggs, or garlic,
or drink wine. One should be careful not to over-eat in order to approach Yom Kippur in a
mood of fear and humility.
- After eating, it is customary to say “Shir Hama’alos’ and to wash “Mayim Achronim” before
Birchas Hamazon. One should say Birchas Hamazon with great concentration and devotion.
After Birchas Hamazon the teeth should be cleaned well.
- A person who wants to eat or drink after this meal should preferably say so explicitly before
Birchas Hamazon, or at least have it in mind. If he does not have this in mind, he may
nevertheless eat or drink again.
- Women light candles no later than 6:46 PM and make two blessings: 1) “Lehadlik Ner
Shel Yom Hakipurim” and 2) “Shehechiyanu.” Women usually accept the holiness of Yom
How to Celebrate Yom Kippur – 5781
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Kippur with this candle lighting. Under extenuating circumstances, a woman may travel to Shul
after candle lighting if she had in mind when lighting that she does not yet want to accept Yom
Kippur. In that circumstance, she should only recite the first blessing over the candles and say
“Shehechiyanu” with the congregation after Kol Nidrei.
- One should light a 24 hour Yahrzeit candle in memory of all deceased relatives. An additional
candle should be lit specifically to be used for Havdalah at the end of Yom Kippur. These
candles are generally lit by the husband.
- Men accept the holiness of Yom Kippur during the recital of “Tefilas Zakah.” See Artscroll
Machzor pg. 38-48. It would be optimal for men to come to Shul at least 20 minutes before Kol
Nidrei in order to properly say this prayer.
- Married men wear a Kittel the entire time that they are awake on Yom Kippur.
- Women should wear Yom Tov clothes, but should not dress over lavishly. They may wear
jewellery that is normally worn on weekdays, but not those that are usually worn on Shabbos
or Yom Tov.
- The father gives his children a special blessing before he goes to Shul. See Artscroll Machzor
- Married men should put on their Tallis before sunset in order to be able to say the blessing. If
one did not manage to put it on until after sunset, the blessing should not be said.
Laws of Yom Kippur:
In additions to the forms of work that are forbidden on Shabbos, there are five additional prohibitions:
Eating and Drinking:
- All adult males over 13 years and females over 12 are obligated to fast the entire 25 hours.
- Healthy children from the age of nine should be encouraged to fast part of the day by giving
them their meals at a later time than usual, both at night and during the day. Children below
this age should eat as usual. Since they are exempted from fasting, one may give them Yom
Tov meals and treats in honour of the day.
- Pregnant and nursing women must fast like everyone else. It is strongly recommended that
they rest as much as possible in order to preserve their strength, even if it means davening
little or nothing in Shul.
- A person whose life will or may be endangered by fasting, even in the long term, is absolutely
forbidden to fast.
- If upon consultation with a Rabbi, you are told that for health reasons that you may eat, the
maximum quantity of solid food that may be eaten in one session is 30cc [one fluid ounce],
measured by volume and not weight. The liquid quantity is 40cc [1.3 fluid ounces]. A person
may eat these quantities as often as necessary, provided that they are in nine minute intervals.
- One need not wait at all in between eating and drinking because they do not combine to form
- All decisions of eating on Yom Kippur should be done in consultation with a Rabbi.
- When Halachikly permitted, person may swallow bitter or tasteless medicines in tablet,
capsule, or liquid form, but not if they are pleasant tasting. The medicine should preferably be
taken without water. If one can not swallow the capsule without any liquid, he should preferably
use a bitter tasting liquid. Only as a last resort one may use water [less than 1.3 ounces].
- It is permitted to touch food in order to feed children or the elderly.
10.It is forbidden to rinse out the mouth whether with water or with mouthwash, even if one feels
Washing and Bathing:
- It is forbidden to derive pleasure from washing any part of the body, whether in hot or cold
- It is permitted to wash off dirt, but one should be careful to wash only the affected area.
- When you awaken in the morning, the hands should be washed carefully up to the knuckles
only [i.e. to the end of the fingers], but one does not need to be concerned if some of the water
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splashes a little further. One should wash each hand three times as usual. The stickiness in
one’s eyes may be removed with your already moist fingers.
- After going to the bathroom, one should wash up to the knuckles only. It is sufficient to wash
each hand once.
- Kohanim, who are washing their hands to perform the Mitzvah of blessing the congregation,
are permitted to wash the entire hand up to the wrist as usual.
- Children of all ages should be trained to follow the above laws, whether washing themselves or
being washed by their parents.
- A person is permitted to allow his hands to become wet when washing food or dishes for a
person who is eating.
- It is forbidden to apply oils or similar liquids even in a small quantity on any part of the body.
This is forbidden whether done for pleasure, cleanliness, hygiene, or personal comfort.
Therefore, one may not use perfumes or similar liquid cosmetics whether in bottles or sprays.
It is permitted to apply these products just before Yom Kippur even though one will derive
pleasure on Yom Kippur.
- It is forbidden to apply deodorants and antiperspirants on Yom Kippur, but is permitted before
Yom Kippur. One may use Talcum Powder to maintain personal comfort.
- Children of all ages are included in these laws.
- A sick person, who has permission to use oils on Shabbos, may do so on Yom Kippur.
- According to the strict letter of the law, only shoes that are made of leather are forbidden,
whereas all other materials are permitted.
- This prohibition applies even if only a small part of the shoe is made out of leather. Whether
the leather is found in the sole, the upper part in the sole, or just in the straps.
- If you are unsure if the shoes are real leather or imitation, you should be strict and not wear
- According to most opinions, one is permitted to wear comfortable sport shoes, etc. Some
opinions prohibit this. The reason we do not wear leather shoes is as an affliction that helps to
atone for one’s sins; and therefore such footwear is inappropriate. It is praiseworthy to try and
follow this opinion and limit oneself to thin-soled shoes that do not offer such comfort.
- One is permitted to wear leather shoes for medical reasons. However, today many synthetic
materials are available, and one should try to obtain an alternative to leather if possible.
- Children from the age of two to three should be taught to wear other footwear.
- All physical contact between husband and wife is forbidden, both at night and during the day.
- All the laws of Niddah separation should be followed and friendly chatting should be avoided.
The Viduy [Confession]:
- One must confess sins that are contained in the Viduy even if he thinks he has not committed
them. In addition, it is proper to make specific mention of personal sins that one has committed
that he feels are not mentioned in the standard Viduy.
- One must stand with the body bent slightly forward when saying the Viduy. [similar to the way
one stands when saying Modim] One should remain bent until after the words “Arba Misos
- One may not lean on anything to the extent that one would fall over if the object were to be
removed. One is permitted to gently lean on an object.
- A sick or elderly person may lean on an object heavily if necessary. If this is too difficult, it is
permitted to sit when reciting the Viduy.
- The custom is to strike the chest at the mention of each sin, during the “Al Chet.” One should
strike at the word “Shechatanu.” And during the “V’al Chataim”, at the words “She’anu
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- It is customary to come early enough to Shul to say “Tefilah Zakah.” If there is not sufficient
time to say the entire prayer, then one should at least say the short confession and the
paragraph expressing forgiveness to other people. See Artscroll Machzor pg. 40.
- “Tefilah Zakah” was primarily composed for men to say. A woman who wishes to say it may do
so, omitting the lines that refer specifically to men.
- One should read the Kol Nidrei together with the Chazzan. The annulment of vows, which is
the basis of the Kol Nidrei, is not valid unless one understands the words.
- Women who recited the “Shehechiyanu” blessing when lighting candles may not recite it a
second time. They should just listen and say Amen. Everyone else should say the blessing
together within the Chazzan, finishing a little quicker than him in order to answer Amen to his
- One may say the Kol Nidrei prayer alone at home; however one can only read the text that
refers to future vows and not past vows.
- We say the verse “Baruch Sheim Kevod Malchuso..” out loud after the Shema.
- If one can not be in Shul, one can say Yizkor alone without a Minyan.
- There are different customs regarding saying Yizkor during the first twelve months. If one does
not have a particular custom, then one should say Yizkor.
- If a man removes his Tallis during the day, he only repeats the blessing when putting it back on
if he took his mind off the Tallis completely. [usually 2-3 hours]
- It is permitted to smell spices on Yom Kippur. Many people do so in order to complete the
saying of 100 blessings a day.
- It is customary to stand during the entire Neilah service, as the Ark is open. However, one may
sit if they feel weak.
- One should not socialize or be involved in idle chatter during the entire Yom Kippur.
Motzei Yom Kippur:
- Under no circumstances may one make preparations to break the fast before 7:53 PM.
- It is forbidden to eat or drink before making or hearing Havdalah. Havdalah is after 7:53 PM.
The exception is water which may be drunk before Havdalah, after praying Maariv or saying
“Baruch Hamavdil Bein Kodesh Lechol.”
- One should say the Maariv prayer carefully after Yom Kippur is over.
- The custom is to wish everyone a good year when leaving Shul.
- It is praiseworthy to wash one’s entire hands three times after the fast since they were not
washed fully in the morning.
- Women who do not pray Maariv must say “Baruch Hamavdil Bein Kodesh Lechol” before doing
- This year, Havdalah has three parts:
• Blessing on wine
• Blessing on candle
• Havdalah Blessing
- One should use the pre-existing flame that was burning throughout Yom Kippur as the
Havdalah candle. If one does not have one, he should try to obtain one from a neighbour. If
this is not possible, no blessing is made on the flame.
- The custom is to say Kiddush Levanah either immediately after Maariv or after one has broken
10.The custom is to eat an elaborate meal after Yom Kippur to celebrate the fact that Hashem has
forgiven our sins. We consider it a Yom Tov meal.
- The custom is to start building one’s Succah or to at least do something related to its
construction after he has eaten.
- It is a custom to arise earlier than usual on the day after Yom Kippur.