Erev Yom Kippur-Checklist and summary of laws

Erev Yom Kippur

  • Kaparos
  • Buy two 24-hour candles. One for the shul for married men and one for the house for Havdala.
  • Davening: No Tachanun/Avinu Malkeinu/Mizmor Lesoda in Shacharis
  • No Avinu Malkeinu even if falls on Erev Shabbos
  • Receive Lekach
  • Ask forgiveness from people that you hurt
  • Mitzvah to eat. Eat more than usual for one day.
  • Breakfast: Wash, eat fish and dairy. Dip bread in honey.
  • Avoid eating throughout day: Eggs; garlic; meat of animal; Sesame; Tehina; Halva; Avoid dairy in afternoon.
  • Eat Kreplach
  • Malkus after midday, before Mikveh.
  • Mikveh after Malkus prior to Mincha; check there is no Chatzitza; Cut nails of feet and hand; Remove knots from hair
  • Mincha: Daven Mincha in early afternoon; Wear Shabbos clothing for Mincha; Place charity on plates in Shul before Mincha; If falls on Erev Shabbos recite Hodu and Patach Eliyahu; Recite Viduiy in Mincha.
  • Viduiy is recited at the conclusion of Mincha.
  • Place Shabbos tablecloths on tables in house and Shul
  • Read Haftorah of Yom Kippur
  • Seudas Hamfsekes: Dip bread in honey; Avoid dairy; Some eat fish while some avoid; Avoid spicy foods; Avoid salt. Eat Kreplach.
  • Make Tnaiy before Bentch that does not intend to accept fast until sunset.
  • Birchas Habanim.
  • Tosefes Yom Kippur
  • Prepare 24-hour candle in home for Havdala
  • Prepare 24-hour candle in Shul if married man
  • Prepare drinking and eating Shiurim if suspect may need to breakfast for medical emergency
  • Leave a night light on in couple’s bedroom
  • Light Yizkor candle if a parent has passed away
  • Remove leather shoes before candle lighting
  • Candle lighting: Recite blessing of L’hadlik Neir Shel Yom Hakippurim. If Yom Kippur coincides with Shabbos, then one says L’hadlik Neir Shel Shabbos Veshel Yom Hakippurim. One then recites Shehechiyanu.
  • Place on Kittel
  • Place on Tallis with blessing before sunset
  • Recite Viduiy by sunset
  • Recite Tehillim before Kol Nidrei
  • Bring a Shofar to Shul [if one is the Baal Tokeia]

Chapter 1: Erev Yom Kippur

  1. Kaparos:
  • How many chickens is a family to use, and what should be the gender of the chicken? One takes a chicken for each family member, a male chicken for a male, a female chicken for a female and two females and one male for a pregnant woman. If one is unable to afford buying one chicken per family member, then one male chicken may be used for all the male members of one’s household and one female chicken may be used for all the female members of one’s household. This applies even in accordance to those which follow the custom to take one chicken per person.
  • If a woman used a male chicken or vice versa she fulfills her obligation. The Kaparos is not required to be repeated.
  • Maaser money: One may not use Maaser money to perform the Mitzvah of Kaparos. If, however, one cannot afford to buy one chicken per family member, then he can use Maaser money to do so. However even in such a case at least one male and female chicken is not to come from the Maaser funds.
  • The color of the chicken: One is to choose a white chicken if they are readily available. However, one is not to specifically search out for a white chicken if it is not readily available.
  • What if no chickens are available? If there are no chickens available for Kaparos, then other animals [such as a goose] may also be used for the Kaparos. However young doves and Turim should not be used. Some Poskim rule that fish is valid to be used for Kaparos in the event that poultry is not available. [Today the widespread custom is to use money if chickens are not available. This money is then given to the poor.]
  • What is the Kaparos process that is done with the chicken? One holds the chicken and says the paragraph beginning Bnei Adam printed in the Siddur. When one reaches the paragraph of “Zeh Chalifacy” one circles the chicken around his head three times. The above paragraphs beginning from Bnei Adam is then repeated another two times, thus encircling the head a total of nine times.
  • When should the ceremony be done? The ceremony is to be performed towards dawn of Erev Yom Kippur [i.e. Ashmuros Haboker]. Kaparos may be performed 1-2 days before Yom Kippur if doing so on Erev Yom Kippur is burdensome on the public or on the Shochtim.
  • Immersing in a Mikveh: Some have the custom to immerse in a Mikveh prior to performing Kaparos
  • Semicha: After the ceremony, one does Smicha to the chicken [or another animal] and then gives it to a Shochat to be immediately slaughtered. [Some however learn from the Siddur of Admur that one is not required to do Semicha to the chicken or slaughter it immediately afterwards. It is however brought that the Rebbe Rashab, would perform Semicha after he finished the Kaparos. Practically the widespread custom is not to do so.]
  • Covering its blood: It is a Mitzvah for the Shochet to cover the blood of slaughtered fowl with earth or straw. It is permitted to be honored by the Shochet to do so in his place. Before covering the blood one says the blessing of “Al kisoi dam beafar”. Earth or straw is to be set up near the slaughtering area and the Shochet then drips some blood onto it. After the Simanim of the chicken and knife is checked and the chicken is verified as Kosher, one says the blessing and then covers the blood.
  • Throwing intestines to the birds: The intestines and internal organs of the chicken of Kaparos are to be thrown in an area that is accessible to birds, such as on one’s roof or in one’s courtyard, in order for the birds to be able to feed from it.
  • Donating the chicken or its worth to the poor: It is accustomed to donate the chicken itself to paupers. Nevertheless, it is better to redeem the chicken with money and give the money to the poor, as opposed to giving the chicken itself.
  • Must one first perform Kaparos on himself prior to performing it on others [i.e. encircling the chicken over the heads of others]? It is proper for one to first perform Kaparos on himself prior to doing so on behalf of others. If there is a reason that he is not able to do so then one may initially do the Kaparos for others before doing so on himself.
  • Does it make a difference as to which direction one swerves the chicken around his head? This matter is not discussed in Poskim hence assuming that one may do so in whichever direction he chooses.
  • Must one repeat Kaparos if the Shechita of the chicken was a Niveila [invalid]? If the Shechita was invalid one must redo the Kaparos. If, however, it was a Kosher slaughtering, but the chicken was found to be a Treifa it is nevertheless valid.
  • Should the Nusach of Kaparos be said differently by women, or children? Some write Admur intentionally omitted the change of Nuschaos and therefore one should always say “Chalifasi”.


  1. Omissions from the prayer on Erev Yom Kippur:
  • The following prayers are omitted by Shacharis of Erev Yom Kippur [until after Tishreiy]:
  1. Tachanun
  2. Lamnatzeiach
  3. Mizmor Lesodah
  4. Avinu Malkeinu. Avinu Malkeinu is omitted even if Erev Yom Kippur falls on Friday.
  • Is Tachanun recited by Mincha prior to Erev Yom Kippur? Tachanun is recited by Mincha of the 8th of Tishreiy, which is the Mincha prior to Erev Yom Kippur.
  1. Eating on Erev Yom Kippur:
  • The Mitzvah to eat: Erev Yom Kippur is an accustomed Yom Tov. It is a (Rabbinical) Mitzvah to eat on Erev Yom Kippur. By eating on Erev Yom Kippur Hashem rewards us as if we had fasted that day. [One is to diminish in learning Torah on Erev Yom Kippur in order to eat and drink.] From the letter of the law, one is only required to eat one meal. This meal may be eaten even towards the end of the day for one to fulfill the Mitzvah, and not be considered as if he fasted. Nevertheless, on Erev Yom Kippur one should eat and drink the amount of food and drink that he would normally consume in two days on behalf of both Erev Yom Kippur and Yom Kippur.
  • It is thus customary to wash on bread and eat a meal in the morning for breakfast in addition to the Seudas Hamafsekes which is eaten right before the fast.
  • The Erev Yom Kippur Menu-Foods to be eaten; Foods to be avoided: Throughout the day of Erev Yom Kippur one should only eat easily digestible foods, such as fish or chicken [however not meat]. One is to avoid eating eggs and garlic. Some Poskim rule that cold hard-boiled eggs may be eaten. One is to avoid eating sesame seeds throughout the day. One is not to eat Techina or Halva on Erev Yom Kippur, as they are made from sesame seeds which are avoided on Erev Yom Kippur. The custom is to [allow] eating milk products in the morning. However, it should be avoided in the afternoon. One should eat fish by breakfast. Regarding if one may eat fish by the Seudas Hamafsekes-see further Halacha. It is customary to eat Kreplach [a cooked pastry pocket filled with ground chicken] on Erev Yom Kippur. During the Erev Yom Kippur meals one is to dip the bread in honey.
  • The Poskim write that it is a Mitzvah to eat fish on Erev Yom Kippur. The Tur brings a story from the Midrash of a certain tailor who outbid the city chief of police over the purchase of a fish on Erev Yom Kippur. Upon questioning, the tailor answered, “How can I avoid purchasing the fish on a day that Hashem commanded us to eat and drink out of faith that He will grant us atonement.” The police chief was satisfied with the answer and let him go.
  • Receiving Lekach: It is a customary to receive Lekach [honey cake] on Erev Yom Kippur. The Rebbe would distribute Lekach and wish the receiver a Gemara Chasima Tovah. One should request the Lekach from the distributer and then eat it.


  1. Visiting graves:
  • Some have the custom to visit gravesites on Erev Yom Kippur and donate to charity the worth of the chickens he used for Kaparos. This practice was not witnessed amongst the Chabad Rabbeim and is not the custom of Anash.
  • After Midday: On Erev Yom Kippur in Lubavitch there was a difference between the atmosphere of the first half of the day and the second half, as if they were two completely different times of the year.
  1. Malkus-Lashes:
  • It is customary to receive 39 lashes on Erev Yom Kippur [after midday] prior to going to Mikveh, prior to Mincha.
  • Although Malkus is no longer affective in today’s times due to lack of judges that have Semicha and due to lack of Hasra, nevertheless the custom is to receive lashes as through doing so one will arouse his heart to perform Teshuvah for his sins. Furthermore, it is done in order to subjugate one’s heart and prepare one to serve Hashem, the honored and awesome G-d, with awe and trepidation.
  • Saying Vehu Rachum: Both the person giving [and receiving] the lashes recite the verse “Vehu Rachum..” three times, for a total of 39 words corresponding to the 39 lashes. [The order: One begins with the right shoulder and then the left shoulder and then the middle under the shoulder blades. There are 13 words in Vehu Rachum and hence one will end the first Vehu Rachum by the top right of the shoulder. One begins the next Vehu Rachum on the top left of the shoulder and concludes it on the top left. One begins the third Vehu Rachum on the bottom between the shoulder blades and concludes it by the bottom between the shoulder blades. This adds up to a total of 39 words and 39 lashes.]
  • What material belt should be used to give the lashes? The leather of a calf is the most preferred material to use for administering these lashes. It is not necessary for the belt to be a Tefach wide.
  • Which direction should one face upon receiving the lashes: The person receiving the lashes is to sit on his knees, bowing his head towards north.
  1. Tevilah in a Mikveh on Erev Yom Kippur:
  • It is customary to immerse in a Mikveh on Erev Yom Kippur to purify oneself.
  • When should one go to the Mikveh? One should immerse in the Mikveh prior to Mincha in order to say the confession prayer in purity. However, some are accustomed to immersing after the Seudas Hamafsekes in order to immerse as close as possible to Yom Kippur. [In the Siddur Admur rules one is to immerse in the Mikveh prior to Mincha. Practically it is the custom of Chassidim to immerse at both times.]
  • How many times should one immerse within the water? This depends on the reason behind the immersion. According to the reason that the immersion is done to purify oneself from the state of Keri only one immersion within the water is necessary. However according to the reason that the immersion is done as a symbol of Teshuvah one is to immerse three times. [Practically one is to immerse three times.]
  • Must one shower and remove Chatzitzas prior to immersion? Although during the regular year it is not required to remove a Chatzitza from the body prior to immersion nevertheless regarding the immersion of Erev Yom Kippur one must verify that his body contains no intervals during the immersion. Thus, one is to remove every item from his body, and clean himself of any dirt. One is to cut his hand nails, and if his toenails are long he is to also cut the nails of his feet. This is not to be done the same day. One is to comb through his hair to remove any knots, and is to brush his teeth prior to this immersion.
  • Taking a shower after Mikveh: It is permitted to shower after Mikveh, although some are stringent not to do so. Nevertheless, on Erev Shabbos [and Erev Yom Tov] according to all it is better not to do so, in order so one not completely wash off the Mikveh water from his body, as will be explained next.
  • Drying oneself after Mikveh: Based on the teachings of the Arizal one should not dry the Mikveh water off his body after immersing. Practically, we are particular to dry ourselves with a towel after immersion and one who desires to follow the directive of the Arizal is to leave some part of his body not dried. It suffices for one to leave his feet wet in order to fulfill this directive.
  • Should women immerse on Erev Yom Kippur? Based on the reason mentioned above that the immersion is done for purposes of Teshuvah, also women are accustomed to immersing on Erev Yom Kippur. This custom is followed even by virgins and other unmarried women who are above the age of Mitzvos, and certainly applies for married women. [However, some Poskim vehemently oppose unmarried women immersing in a Mikveh as doing so can lead to promiscuity.] If a married woman is within three days of having had marital relations, then if she had relations in close proximity to her Mikveh night or her expected period, being that these are times that she can become pregnant, she is not to immerse in a Mikveh on Erev Yom Kippur. If she is within three days of relations but not within her period of fertility, then prior to immersion she is to thoroughly clean out her area with hot water in order to expel all the seed from her body. Women which are not within three days of marital relations are not required to clean themselves from possible seed prior to the immersion. Some Poskim rule a woman that is within her 7 clean days is not to immerse. Others however rule that it is allowed without limitation.
  • If a Mikveh is not available: To achieve purification from the state of Keri one may immerse in 40 Seah [90 gallons or 332 liters] of even drawn water that is in the ground [such as a typical swimming pool]. However, it does not help to immerse in a vessel that contains drawn water. If one is not able to immerse in any body of water [even a swimming pool and the like] then he is to pour nine Kavim [12.5 Liters] of water over his body. One can do so by staying under the shower head for 3-4 minutes consecutively without turning the water off for even a moment in between. One is to stand straight under the shower head with his hands weakly folded over his chest as explained next. It is invalid when one is lying in the bath.


  1. The Yom Kippur Attire:
  • Wearing clean clothing: There is an obligation to honor Yom Kippur with clean and proper attire. One may not place on himself sackcloth even if he is doing so for purposes of repentance.
  • Wearing a white Kittel: The custom is to wear a Kittel [over one’s clothing] on Yom Kippur. [A Chasan who wore a Kittel at his wedding does not wear a Kittel on the first Yom Kippur thereafter.]
  • Shabbos tablecloths: As a result of the above obligation to honor Yom Kippur with clean clothing, it is customary to place the Shabbos tablecloths over the table [in one’s house and] over the tables in Shul.
  • Coming to Mincha of Erev Yom Kippur in Shabbos clothes: One should arrive at Shul for Mincha in his Shabbos attire.
  • Women are not to wear jewelry or ornaments normally worn on Shabbos or Yom Tov in order so they show fear for the Day of Judgment. However, they may wear jewelry that is normally worn on a weekday.
  1. Reading the Haftorah of Yom Kippur:
  • On Erev Yom Kippur one is to read the Haftorah of Yom Kippur.


  1. The Confession Prayer:
  • One recites the confession prayer after Sim Shalom of each Amidah prayer of Yom Kippur [with exception to Neilah in which it is not said]. One also recites the confession prayer at Mincha of Erev Yom Kippur. Upon the approach twilight of the start of Yom Kippur one is to say the confession prayer.
  • The confession within the Chazans repetition: The Chazan recites the confession prayer within the repetition of the Amidah as opposed to after its conclusion. When the Chazan says the confession prayer, the congregation says the prayer together with him.
  • How to say the confession: One is to stand throughout reciting the confession prayer. He is not to lean on an item in a way that if the item were to be removed it would cause him to lose his balance and fall. It is proper to bend one’s back upon saying the confession in order to say it with great humility. Upon confessing, one is to hit his heart [each time he recites a particular sin]. Others are accustomed to hit their chest.
  • How to achieve atonement: The day of Yom Kippur only atones for the sins of a person which believes in the day of Yom Kippur and repents.
  1. Mincha:
  • Shabbos clothing: One is to come to shul for Mincha wearing Shabbos clothing.
  • Placing Tzedaka onto plates: Prior to Mincha one is to place coins of charity onto plates which are set up in Shul.
  • When is it prayed? Mincha is prayed in the early the afternoon with extreme concentration, arousing Teshuvah from the depths of the heart.
  • The confession prayer: One recites the confession prayer at the conclusion of Shemoneh Esrei of Mincha. [If one forgot to say it during Shemoneh Esrei he may say it after Shemoneh Esrei.]
  • Hodu and Patach Eliyahu: When Erev Yom Kippur falls on Erev Shabbos one recites Hodu and Patach Eliyahu prior to Mincha.
  1. The Final Meal:
  • When? Immediately after Mincha one is to prepare and eat the final meal which is eaten prior the fast. This meal is referred to as the Seudas Hamafsekes.
  • Dipping bread in honey: One is to dip his bread in honey during the final meal.
  • Dairy: Dairy foods, including milk and butter, are to be avoided during the last meal. Only light foods should be eaten, as mentioned above.
  • Fish: Some write one is to avoid eating fish during the last meal [as fish increases in seed]. Others however limit this to only hot or salted fish.
  • Spicy foods: Spicy foods which heat the body should not be eaten, as this can lead one to having a nocturnal emission. [For this reason, likewise sour foods, such as lemon, are to be avoided.]
  • Salt: We are particular not to add salt to our foods on Erev Yom Kippur.
  • Kreplach: It is customary to eat Kreplach [a cooked pastry pocket filled with ground chicken] on Erev Yom Kippur.
  • Some Poskim rule one is to avoid drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages during the Seudas Hamafsekes on Erev Yom Kippur. This matter is not mentioned in Admur or earlier Poskim.
  1. Eating and drinking after concluding the meal:
  • Verbalize that one is not accepting the fast at the meal’s conclusion: One may eat and drink after the meal until sunset. This applies even if he decided in his mind to no longer eat or drink after the meal. Nevertheless, it is best for one verbalize prior to ending the meal that he does not plan to begin the fast until sunset.


  1. Birchas Habanim: Blessing one’s children prior to leaving for Shul:
  • On Erev Yom Kippur, after the Seudas Hamafsekes prior to leaving to Shul for Kol Nidrei, it is accustomed for parents to bless their children [with the priestly blessing of “Yivarechicha Hashem Veyishmirecha.”]. They should cry to Hashem that their prayers are accepted, and their children be sealed for a good year spiritually and physically. It is customary for mothers to likewise bless their children. The Rebbe Rashab would place his hands over the heads of his granddaughters when saying the blessing.


  1. Insulating food on Erev Yom Kippur:
  • Some rule it is forbidden to insulate food on Erev Yom Kippur for one to eat after Yom Kippur. Others however rule it is permitted to be done. The latter opinion is the main Halachic opinion, nevertheless the custom is to be stringent like the former opinion.
  1. Tosefes Shabbos and Yom Kippur-Adding on to the holiness of Yom Kippur:
  • It is a Biblical command to add on to the time of Yom Kippur, both in its beginning and end. This means that one is to begin to keep all the laws of Yom Kippur prior its official entrance by sunset and after its official leave after nightfall the next day. This law likewise applies for Shabbos and all Holidays. Due to the above Yom Kippur usually extends for up to 26 hours.
  • There is no minimum amount of time that one needs to add to the entrance and leave of Yom Kippur. Thus, even if one adds one moment, he has fulfilled the Mitzvah. [However, some learn based on the Siddur that one must add 4 minutes to the entrance and leave of Yom Kippur, Shabbos and Yom Tov.]


  1. Candle Lighting:
  • The Mitzvah to light candles: On every Shabbos and Holiday there is a command to honor the special day through eating a festive meal. Being that on Yom Kippur we fast, therefore the Torah commanded us to [at least] honor it through wearing clean clothing and lighting candles. Thus, one must honor Yom Kippur through lighting candles just as is done on every other Yom Tov.
  • Leaving a light on in the bedroom of married couples: According to all, if a couple is leaving a light on in their house, then they are required to also leave a light on in their bedroom.
  • Lighting candles in Shul: On Erev Yom Kippur candles are lit in Shul. In the past, it was customary for every male, young and old to light a candle in Shul. However today the custom is only for married men to light a candle in Shul. [This candle is customarily called a Gezunt Licht.] If the candle that one lit extinguished on Yom Kippur it is a bad omen. To rectify this, he should relight the candle after Yom Kippur and let it burn out on its own. So too he should accept upon himself that every year in which the candle remains lit after Yom Kippur he will not extinguish it but rather let it go out on its own. [To avoid this issue some, suggest to simply place the candle together with all the other candles and hence avoid knowing which candles belongs to whom.]
  • Lighting a Yartzeit candle: The custom is to light a [24 hour] candle for a deceased parent on Erev Yom Kippur.
  • The blessing: After lighting the candles for Yom Kippur one says the blessing of L’hadlik Neir Shel Yom Hakippurim. If Yom Kippur coincides with Shabbos, then one says L’hadlik Neir Shel Shabbos Veshel Yom Hakippurim. One then recites Shehechiyanu.
  • When a man is lighting candles, he does not recite Shehechiyanu by the candle lighting, rather it is said in Shul together with the congregation. If he did say it by candle lighting, then he may not repeat it later on.
  • One is to light a 24-hour candle in his home to be used for Havdala on Motzei Yom Kippur. See “The Day of Yom Kippur” Halacha 6!


  1. Appeasing someone that you hurt:
  • Yom Kippur does not atone for sins between man and his fellow. Therefore, if one wronged someone, even in words, he must make amends.
  • How to ask forgiveness: One should ask forgiveness from the person he offended in front of three people. One must explicitly mention to the victim the sin or offence that he is asking forgiveness for. If, however the victim will be embarrassed to hear the sin or offence one is not to mention the particular sin and is rather to ask for general forgiveness.
  • If the person is no longer alive: If the person one offended is no longer alive then if the grave is within a three Parsa distance one is required to go barefoot to the grave together with ten other people and ask forgiveness from the deceased. If the grave of the person is further away than three Parsaos one may send a messenger to ask forgiveness from the deceased, at the grave, together with another ten people.
  • To forgive the offender right away: When asked for forgiveness one must forgive the offender immediately. One must be careful in this especially at this time of year, prior to Yom Kippur, as when the Jewish people are unified with one heart then the Satan cannot prosecute us. When being asked for forgiveness for having an evil rumor spread against him, he is not required to forgive the asker at all. Nevertheless, it is an attribute of mercy to forgive the offender even in such a case. If one suspects that forgiving the offender will lead to some further complication or evil act, he is not required to forgive the offender, as one’s own life comes before his friend’s. If one sees that the offender does not truly have remorse, then he may refuse to forgive him in order to cause him to feel remorse for what he did.
  • How many times must one try to appease the person he offended? If the victim refused to forgive the offender after he was first approached for forgiveness, the offender must try to appease him in different ways another two times. If the victim still refuses to forgive him, the offender is no longer obligated to try to appease him. Nevertheless, he must tell ten people that he has asked for forgiveness from the person he offended, and the victim refused to be consoled. If one desires to be stringent and continue to try to appease the person he offended, he may do so even one hundred times. If one offended his Rebbe, even if this is not his main teacher but rather one from whom he has learned Torah, he must try to appease him and ask him for forgiveness even more the three times, until he receives forgiveness.

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