Laws & Customs of Yom Kippur-Checklist of Reminders

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]
General Yom Kippur Laws
  • The five oppressions: Not to eat or drink; Not to bathe; Not to anoint; Not to wear leather shoes; Not to have marital relations
  • Don’t do Melacha just like Shabbos
  • Don’t prepare food for after fast
  • Smell spices as much as possible to gain 100 blessings.
  • Married couple: Keep Harchakos throughout Yom Kippur
Night of Yom Kippur
  • Wear Tallis and Kittel
  • Confess upon sunset
  • Say the Tehillim prior to Kol Nidrei
  • Say Baruch Shem aloud
  • Falls on Shabbos: Begin Maariv from Mizmor Ledavid; No Avinu Malkeinu; Recite Vayechulu; Meiyn Sheva
  • Recite book of Tehillim after Davening
  • Don’t fully cover your feet upon sleeping
Yom Kippur day
  • In morning wash hands until knuckles
  • Omit Sheasa Li Kol Tzarki
  • Be distressed over death of sons of Ahron in Kerias Hatorah
  • No Ein Kelokeinu or Aleinu after Musaf Shemoneh Esrei.
  • No Ashrei/Uva Letziyon before Mincha-is said before Neilah
  • Mincha: Read Torah in regular tune. No Nesias Kapayim in Mincha although the Chazan does say Elokeinu
  • Neilah: Begin Neilah before sunset; Leave Aron open throughout Neilah; recite Avinu Malkeinu even if falls on Shabbos; Napoleon’s march in middle of Kaddish followed by single blowing of Shofar; Kaddish with Lieila Ulieila
  • Recite 9 remaining chapters of Tehillim
Motzei Yom Kippur
  • Maariv: Put on hat, wearing Tallis on shoulders.
  • Wash hands fully after Maariv
  • Wish Gut Yom Tov
  • Kiddush Levana: Switch shoes, wash face, no need to eat.
  • Havdala: Use fire that was lit throughout Yom Kippur
  • Eat festive meal; wash on bread; dip bread in honey
  • Begin building, or talking about building Sukkah
The day after
  • Wake up early
  • No Tachanun
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]? Yes. 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.
Chapter 2: General laws applicable throughout the day of Yom Kippur
  1. The five prohibitions:
  • The verse states that on Yom Kippur one is to oppress himself. The Sages derived from these the following five prohibitions of oppression, as they decrease one’s pleasure. All the five prohibitions are Biblical, as they are deduced from the above verse of oppression. All the prohibitions apply starting from sunset of Erev Yom Kippur. When one stops doing Melacha and begins the oppressions from sunset he has also fulfilled the Mitzvah of Tosefes Yom Kippur.
The following are the prohibitions:
  1. Not to eat or drink
  2. Not to bathe
  3. Not to anoint
  4. Not to wear leather shoes
  5. Not to have marital relations
  1. Melacha:
  • Yom Kippur has the same Halachic status as Shabbos with regards to Melacha. Thus, it is forbidden to carry and cook on Yom Kippur just like on Shabbos. 
  1. Preparing food on Yom Kippur:
  • For after the fast: It is forbidden to prepare food on Yom Kippur for after the fast. This applies even after Mincha of Yom Kippur.
  • For a child: One may prepare food for a child on Yom Kippur if the food is not edible otherwise.
  • Touching food: It is permitted to touch food on Yom Kippur as we do not suspect that touching will lead to eating.
  1. Eating and Drinking:
  • It is Biblically forbidden to eat any amount of food or drink on Yom Kippur. All the measurements of food and liquid that are mentioned are only with regard to the penalty of Kareis and the bringing of the sin offering, and not with regards to what is permissible. The necessity to know the measurements is for the need of an ill person which must eat on Yom Kippur. In such a case, we strive to feed him less than the Shiur Kareis when possible.
  • Tasting food: It is forbidden to taste foods on Yom Kippur, even if one will not swallow the food. The Kareis penalty does not apply for merely tasting a food and spitting it out.
  • Washing out the mouth: It is forbidden to wash out one’s mouth on Yom Kippur.
  • Eating inedible items: It is forbidden to eat inedible foods on Yom Kippur. Nevertheless, one who transgresses is not liable for the penalty of Kareis.
  • Inducing vomit: It is forbidden to induce vomit on Yom Kippur to relieve a full stomach [or to relieve a stomachache], as in the process one may come to eat part of the food which he expelled.
  • Pregnant and nursing women: A pregnant or nursing woman must fast on Yom Kippur like any other person. [Some Poskim rule today that pregnant women no longer have to fast. This ruling is not accepted amongst Poskim or Moreh Horaas and rather each case must be judged individually by a competent Rav.]
  • If a pregnant woman began to have contractions, is she to break her fast? From beginning of pregnancy up to end of 9th month [37 weeks]: If a woman feels contractions, or pressure to push then she is to first eat in accordance to the Shiurim dictated above. If that does not suffice then she may eat and drink any amount of food until she is able to calm her body down. From after 9th month [37 weeks]: She is not allowed to break her fast unless she has entered into active labor to the point she cannot walk, is on the birthing stool, or has broken her waters.
  • Practical list of Shiurim for food and drink for a pregnant woman: Food: Is measured based on volume and weight. Hence the Shiur is [less than] the amount of food to fill 30 cc in a measuring cup, and this amount itself is not to weigh more than 30 grams. One is not to eat more than this amount of food within 9 minutes. Those which measure only based on weight are to eat [less than] 30 grams. Drink: One is to drink less than the amount of water that can fill one cheek. Hence before Yom Kippur one is to fill a cheek with water, pour that into a cup, and mark on the cup the level to which the water reached. When there is Halachic need to drink based on the Shiurim one is to drink less than this marked amount of liquid within every 9 minutes. One is not to drink the exact amount marked as this is the Shiur Kareis for liquid.
  • The amount of time to eat the Shiurim: Nine minutes. Meaning that one should make sure not to eat the Shiur of liquid or food within 9 minutes. If 9 minutes is too much then go down to 8, 7.5, 6, 5, 4.5,4.
  • Preparing the Shiurim before Yom Kippur: A pregnant woman is to prepare the Shiurim before Yom Kippur. She is to fill one cheek with water and place it into a cup and then mark the water level. She is to mark on a cup the 30cc level mark.
  • Yoledes: A woman who on Yom Kippur is within three weekdays of having given birth is not to fast at all. If she says she is able to fast and does not want to eat, she is to be fed even against her will. However, in such a case she should only be fed less than the measurement of eating that has the penalty of Kareis, as explained above. If she does not voice an opinion regarding whether she needs to eat then she may be given to eat less than Shiur Kareis, unless the doctors or her colleagues say that she does not need to eat.
  • If she is past three days from childbirth and not past seven days then if she says that she needs to eat, she should be fed less than the Shiur Kareis. This applies even if the doctors say that it’s not dangerous if she does not eat. If she says that she does not need to eat, then she may not be fed. If she does not voice an opinion regarding whether she needs to eat then she may be given to eat less than Shiur Kareis, unless the doctors or her colleagues say that she does not need to eat.
  • If she is past seven weekdays from her birth, then she receives the same Halachic status as a person with a non-deadly illness. Thus, even if she says that she must eat due to the birth, it is forbidden for her to eat. If, however, she says she needs to eat because of an illness she may be fed as is the law regarding all sick people.
  • Does one need to say blessings over the food he eats and is he to make Kiddush: One who needs to eat on Yom Kippur does not need to say Kiddush or Hamotzi on two loaves of bread as these matters were not established by the Sages on Yom Kippur. This applies even if Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos. [However, one does need to say a blessing over the foods which he eats.] In Birchas Hamazon one is to add Yaleh Veyavo prior to Uvinei Yerushalayim and say “Beyom Hakippurim Hazeh”. He is to also add Ritzei when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos.
  1. Smelling spices on Yom Kippur:
  • It is permitted to smell spices on Yom Kippur, as there is no bodily pleasure involved in smelling and rather it is the pleasure of the soul alone. Furthermore, it is praiseworthy to do so in order to accumulate 100 blessings which need to be said daily.
  • May one place scented oil onto a tissue for smelling? No.
  • May one place smelling oil on one’s hand or finger? This is forbidden to be done due to the prohibition of Molid Reich. Furthermore, even according to those Poskim which rule that the prohibition of Molid Reich does not apply to the body, nevertheless seemingly this would remain forbidden due to the anointing prohibition.
  • How often is a blessing said when smelling spices? Once a blessing has been recited over a spice, another blessing can only be said on that same spice if one had decided to no longer smell the spice. Otherwise his second smelling is still included in the blessing originally recited, and thus does not require a blessing to be said. This applies even if he left the room and then returned unless there was a great Hefsek in between.
  • Oil which naturally carries a good scent is to be blessed on in accordance to the source of the scent, whether Atzei or Asvei.
  1. Bathing:
  • It is forbidden to wash any part of one’s body for pleasure purposes. Even to place one’s finger in water is forbidden.
  • Cooling oneself down with a cold bottle or towel: One may not cool himself down with the outside of an open bottle of liquid due to fear it may spill. One may not cool himself down with a dry towel that was wet before Yom Kippur. Needless to say, a wet towel is forbidden to use.
  • Washing one’s face upon awakening: One may wash mucus from his eyes if he is careful to do so throughout the rest of the year. One may not wash his face, even if he is a very pampered person, unless he has dirt on his face and desires to wash it off.
  • How to wash hands in the morning upon awakening:  On the morning of Yom Kippur one only washes his fingers up until his knuckles, having intention to remove the impurity which they contain [as on these days the impurity does not extend past the fingers]. [At the conclusion of Yom Kippur and Tishe Beav, prior to saying Havdala and Kiddush Levana, one washes his [entire] hand three times inconsecutively.] After drying one’s hands with a towel one should use it to pass over his eyes in order to remove his sleepiness.
  • Are Kohanim to wash their hands fully or only until their knuckles in the morning? Some Poskim rule that Kohanim which will be doing Nesias Kapayim are to wash their entire hands as is regularly done in the morning. Others rule they are not to wash past the knuckles as is the law by others. [Some write the Rebbe directed a Chassid to wash his hands as usual in the morning as rules the first opinion.
  • Washing hands after using the bathroom: When going to the bathroom after Davening Maariv at night one may only wash his fingers, up to his knuckles, if he got them dirty in the process. It is advisable to do so in order to say asher yatzar in purity. If one went to the bathroom before Davening Maariv at night, one may wash his fingers even if they are not dirty. If one used the bathroom on the day of Yom Kippur, he may wash his hands afterwards, after every time he goes, being that the entire day is spent in prayer.
  • May one wash his hands three times as usual after using the bathroom before prayer? Yes, however only up until the knuckles.
  • Washing hands for the blessing of the Kohanim: A Kohen may wash his [entire] hand prior to the priestly blessings, even if he had already washed them in the morning before prayers, as he is not washing for pleasure.
  • May a Levi wash his hands prior to washing the Kohen? Yes. Some Poskim rule a Levi is to wash his hands up to his knuckles. Others rule he may wash his entire hands as do the Kohanim.
  • Hefsek Tahara and Mikveh Night that falls on Yom Kippur: A woman whose Mikveh night coincides with Yom Kippur is to postpone it until the next night. However, if the washing for hefsek taharah coincides with Yom Kippur it may be performed even using hot water. However, she is to only wash a little between her thighs.
  • Washing for medical purposes: One who is sick may bathe for medical purposes. Thus, one who returned from a journey with sore feet may place them in water, being that he is not doing so for pleasure purposes.
  • Washing in order to remove dirt: One is allowed to wash off dirt from his body. Thus, one may wash off mud, feces, blood and the like from his body. If one has a nosebleed, he may wash off the blood. Nevertheless, one must take care to only wash off the actual dirty area.
  • Immersing in a Mikveh: It is forbidden for a man to immerse in a Mikveh on Yom Kippur even for purposes of Keri.
  1. Anointing:
  • The prohibition: It is forbidden to anoint oneself even if he is not doing so for pleasure purposes. Thus, one may not smear ointment and the like in order to remove sweat.
  • Soap/lotion/perfume/deodorant: Due to the above one may not apply oil, soap, alcohol, hair tonic/cream, perfume, and deodorant.
  • Anointing for medical reasons: It is permitted to anoint for medical purposes, being that its purpose does not involve any pleasure at all.
  1. Leather shoes:
  • The general Law: One may not wear any footwear which contains leather even if the shoe is mainly of different material. It is forbidden to wear it even on one foot. It is best to be stringent and not wear shoes made of wood. Shoes of other materials are permitted to be worn. Standing on top of leather cloth: Although there is no prohibition against standing on cloth made of leather, nevertheless one who is stringent is to be blessed.
  1. Marital relations:
  • Marital relations are forbidden on Yom Kippur.
  • Harchakos: All the laws of Harchakos that apply when one’s wife is in the state of Niddah apply equally throughout the entire duration of Yom Kippur even if one’s wife is pure. This is a safeguard to avoid marital relations.
  • Speaking with wife: One should refrain from excessive speech with one’s wife on Yom Kippur.
  1. The laws of oppression regarding children:
  • Leather Shoes: One may not place leather shoes on a child even if the child is below the age of education. Certainly, it is forbidden to do so if the child is above the age of education. If one’s child wore the shoes on his own, then if he is below the age of education there is no need to remove the shoes from his feet or tell him to remove it. If, however the child is above the age of education, the father must protest his son from doing so.
  • Bathing: Children are not to be bathed on Yom Kippur. 
  • Anointing: Children are not to be anointed on Yom Kippur. 
  • Fasting: Children who are below the age of education [below 9-10 as will be explained next] may be fed as normal, and it is even forbidden to delay their meals from their regular times, being this can lead to danger. Even if the child desires to fast he is to be protested and forced to eat. Nevertheless, a child may only be fed for his own sake and not for the sake of fulfilling a Mitzvah.  [The above is from the letter of the law, however many are accustomed to allowing children to fast for a certain number of hours even if they are below the age of nine. It is however forbidden to force them to fast even for a few hours, even at night. Thus, if they ask to eat or drink, they are to be allowed.]  Beginning from the age of nine for a healthy child and ten for a weak child, both boys and girls are to be educated to fast on Yom Kippur through having their meals delayed from their set time. One is to delay the meal an hour or more from its set time based on the amount of time delay the child can handle. Thus, if the meal is normally eaten at 3:00 they are to eat it at 4:00 or later. [If the child is very thirsty, he may be given to drink even at night.] It is disputed whether a child above the age of 11 must fast on Yom Kippur. Practically, although the stringent opinion is the main Halachic ruling, nevertheless one may be lenient in a case that the child is too weak to continue fasting, even if there is no danger involved. Based on this people today are no longer accustomed to educating their child to fast the entire day of Yom Kippur even after 11 years old until they become Bar or Bas Mitzvah, as today all children are considered weak. Nevertheless, if one knows for certain that the child is healthy and strong enough to sustain the fast then this leniency does not apply. [It is proper that the child fast until at least midday.] When a child has reached the age of 12 years old for a girl and 13 years old for a boy, then if he or she has grown two pubic hairs, they are considered adults and are obligated in all the commands, including the fasts. If the children have reached this age but do not have two pubic hairs, they must nevertheless guard all the commands out of doubt that perhaps the hairs already grew and later fell off. The obligation of educating a child in the above is on the father. Thus, if the father sees his child disobeying the above, he must reprimand him.
Chapter 3: The night of Yom Kippur
  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. Wearing a Kittel and Tallis:
  • Married men wear a Kittel [and a Tallis Gadol] throughout the prayers of Yom Kippur. 
  • A Chasan: A Chasan who wore a Kittel at his wedding does not wear a Kittel on the first Yom Kippur thereafter.
  • Wearing the Tallis on the night of Yom Kippur: One is to wear the Tallis prior to sunset on Erev Yom Kippur. One is to say a blessing upon placing it on before sunset. [If it is past sunset one may no longer say a blessing upon wearing it.]
  • Must one remove his Tallis or Kittel when going to the bathroom?  One is to remove his Tallis Gadol and Kittel [and Gartel] prior to entering the bathroom, as since they are designated only for prayer it is improper to enter them in such areas. Some Poskim rule it is permitted to urinate while wearing the above garments. This applies even if one enters into a bathroom to urinate. Nevertheless, the custom is to be stringent in this matter and remove the Tallis [and above clothing] prior to entering a bathroom or bathhouse, and so seems to be the opinion of Admur. Likewise, even if one is urinating outside a bathroom, the above items should be removed.
  1. Confession:
  • One should be stringent to confess upon the approach of Bein Hashmashos. [Practically, being that Kol Nidrei is said at this time, one should say this confession prior to Kol Nidrei.]
  1. Saying Tehillim prior to Kol Nidrei:
  • Before the chazzan begins Kol Nidrei it is the custom to recite nine chapters of Tehillim (chapter 115-123) as printed in Chabad Machzorim.
  1. Removal of ban against sinners:
  • Prior to Kol Nidrei the leader of the congregation, together with two other people remove all excommunications and bans that were placed upon any of the worshipers in order for all Jews to be able to pray together with the congregation. This holds importance not only for those that were banned but also for the congregation itself, being that any fast-which sinners do not partake in is not an appeasing fast, as is learnt from the incense offering which included also a foul-smelling spice.
  1. Kol Nidrei-Conditioning one’s future vows:
  • Is not an annulment but rather a stipulation: Kol Nidrei is not the annulment of one’s previous vows, but rather is the placing of a condition on all ones future vows, that they will be nullified. [In Hataras Nedarim however we do both; we nullify the previous vows and stipulate the future vows.]
  • Is said before sunset in presence of three: The custom is to begin saying Kol Nidrei while still day [before sunset] and in the presence of another two people which stand beside the Chazan which recited it. 
  • Removing three Sifrei Torah: Three Sifrei Torah are removed from the Ark prior to Kol Nidrei. 
  • Saying Kol Nidrei together with the chazzan: The congregation is to recite Kol Nidrei quietly together with the Chazan. It however should be said by each congregant loud enough for the people around him to hear. 
  • Is repeated three times with raising of voice: Kol Nidrei is repeated three times, with the Chazan raising his voice louder for each time it is said. This is done in order for awe and fear to be installed into the listeners.
  • Saying it with a melody until night: The saying of Kol Nidrei is to be drawn out with melody until nighttime, in order to Daven the evening prayer at its proper time [and not beforehand].
  • Melodies which the congregation is familiar with: The chazzan should only sing melodies that the congregation is accustomed to, in order not to confuse them.
  • Are women to also say Kol Nidrei quietly together with the Chazan? Yes.
  1. Blessing Shehechiyanu:
  • One who has not said the blessing of Shehechiyanu by candle lighting is to say the blessing prior to the evening prayer. Ideally, it is best for the congregation to listen to the chazzans blessing and fulfill the obligation through him, being that it is more beloved to a King when His commands are fulfilled in public unity. Nevertheless, the custom is for every individual to say the blessing, being that the Chazan does not have anyone else in mind when saying his blessing. When saying the blessing one must beware to finish the blessing prior to the Chazan in order to answer Amen for his blessing. [Nevertheless, it is implied that one should say the blessing together with the Chazan and simply finish before he does rather than say it afterwards.] 
  1. Saying Boruch Shem… aloud:
  • Throughout Yom Kippur one says Boruch Sheim Kevod Malchuso… out loud in the Shema prayer.
  • Some write this custom is not relevant to women as they cannot emulate the angels.
  1. The evening prayer when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos:
  • Kabalas Shabbos: The evening prayer begins from Mizmor Ledavid. The previous psalms starting from Lechu Neranena are omitted.
  • Vayechulu and Meiyn Sheva: At the conclusion of Shemoneh Esrei the prayer of Vayichulu and Meiyn Sheva is recited.
  • Avinu Malkeinu when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos: Avinu Malkeinu is omitted on Shabbos. Avinu Malkeinu is recited after Neilah even when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos.
  1. Saying Tehillim at the conclusion of the evening prayer:
  • At the conclusion of Maariv it is accustomed for the congregation to recite the entire book of Tehillim.
  1. Learning Tractate Yuma:
  • It is a Mitzvah to learn Mishnayos Mesechet Yuma on Yom Kippur, so its words stand in place of the sacrifices. One is likewise to study the sayings of the Sages found at the end of Tractate Yuma which discuss repentance. [However practically this custom has not been visibly followed even by a recognizable minority, and regarding such a public matter this observation can be used as proof (that it is not our custom to do so).]
  1. Upon going to sleep:
  • One is required to sleep at night of Yom Kippur in order so he can concentrate during prayers the next day and not fall asleep in middle.
  • Before retiring to sleep one should say the first 4 chapters of Tehillim as protection from ‘Keri’. [In the Siddur these four psalms are printed to be said immediately after Maariv and is followed by mourners Kaddish.]
  • Kerias Shema Sheal Hamita: One says Kerias Shema Shel Hamita in the same order as said on other festivals, adding however the next nine chapters of Tehillim. (Chapters 124-132)
  • Not to cover oneself fully: It is proper to beware not to wrap oneself within blankets in order to avoid coming to nocturnal emission. At the least one should leave his legs uncovered as did Boaz, in order to avoid coming to nocturnal emission.
  1. Marital relations:
  • Marital relations are forbidden on Yom Kippur.
  • Harchakos: All the laws of Harchakos that apply when one’s wife is in the state of Niddah apply equally throughout the entire duration of Yom Kippur even if one’s wife is pure. This is a safeguard to avoid marital relations.
  • Speaking with wife: One should refrain from excessive speech with one’s wife on Yom Kippur.
  1. One who has a nocturnal emission:
  • Must worry the entire year: One who has a nocturnal emission on Yom Kippur should worry the entire year regarding whether his fast on Yom Kippur was accepted. [This however only applies to Tzaddikim and men of stature. Nevertheless, as a Tikkun for this matter one should recite chapters 103-104 on every weekday until the next Rosh Hashanah. This does not apply on Shabbos and Yom Tov.]
  • If survived year then will have a long life: If he lived through the year, he can be certain that he will receive a portion in the world to come, as he certainly has many merits which protected him. He will also live a long life, as having an emission of seed is a sign for living long years.
Chapter 4-Yom Kippur day:
  1. Shacharis:
  • The morning blessings: One does not recite the blessing of “Sheasa Li Kol Tzarki” on the ninth of Av or Yom Kippur. [One only resume’s saying it the next day.] 
  • The reading of the Torah: Two Sifrei Torah are removed from the Ark for the Yom Kippur Torah reading of Shacharis. In the first scroll, the section speaking of the death of the sons of Aharon, as well as the Yom Kippur service, is read. This is found in the beginning of Parshas Acharei Mos. Maftir is read from the second Sefer Torah. The section in Parshas Pinchas discussing the sacrifices offered on Yom Kippur is read. The Haftorah is read from Isaiah from the section of “Solu Solu” as it discusses repentance and fasting. A total of six men are called up for an Aliyah in the first Torah scroll, unless Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos, in which case seven people are called up. One person is called up to read the Maftir. Some have a custom to give an Aliyah to the Chazan of Musaf.
  • Being distressed from the deaths of Aharon’s sons: One who is distressed over the death of Aharon’s sons and is brought to tears over their death is forgiven for his sins, and receives protection that his children will not die in his lifetime.
  • May one who is not fasting for medical reasons be called to the Torah? One who is not fasting may nevertheless be called up for the Torah reading of Shacharis. It is however questionable whether he may be called up for the Mincha Torah reading. Some Poskim however rule he may be called up even for Mincha.
  • In which tune is the Torah to be read? The Torah is read by Shacharis in the High Holiday Niggun that is read on Rosh Hashanah. However, by Mincha it is read in the regular Torah reading tone.
  1. A Bris that falls on Yom Kippur:
  • The Bris is to take place between after the reading of the Torah before Musaf. Some are accustomed to have it take place prior to Ashreiy of Musaf while others first say Ashreiy and then do the Bris. If the Bris is not taking place in the Shul, then after the Torah reading the scroll is to be returned to the Aron and the congregation is to go to the Milah’s location. After the Milah, they are to return to Shul for Musaf. Some are accustomed to omitting the use of a cup of wine when Milah takes place on Yom Kippur as in any event there is no one who is allowed to drink it. Others are accustomed to use a cup of wine as is the usual practice and then give it to drink to the child which is being circumcised. Others are accustomed to follow the same practice as Tisha B’av, which is to use a cup of wine and give it to drink to any child who is under the age of Chinuch. One is not to initially follow this latter opinion although those that do so need not be protested. [Practically, one is to follow the custom of his community. Hiskashrus writes to follow the second opinion, which is to give the wine to the actual infant.] 
  1. Halel/הלל:
  • The Halel prayer is not recited on Yom Kippur.
  • Saying Halel in Tehillim: Those that say Tehillim on a daily basis and have reached the psalms of Halel on Yom Kippur [as part of their regular cycle] are permitted to recite these psalms as usual. [However, those that are not saying the Tehillim as part of any cycle may not specifically recite the psalms of Halel in Tehillim.]
  1. Musaf:
  • The recitation of the Avodah of the Kohen Gadol: The Avodah of the Kohen Gadol is recited in the Chazans repetition of the Musaf prayer. In times of the Temple the Kohen Gadol would say G-d’s name in its written form a total of ten times. It was said three times by each of the three confession prayers of the Kohen Gadol, and one time in the lottery made for the scapegoat. When the above parts are recited by the congregation the name of G-d is not pronounced in its general form (ADO-NOY) as done throughout the year, but rather is simply read as “Hashem”. This is done to emphasize that these were the names that the Kohen Gadol would explicitly pronounce. The only exception to this is by the words “Lifneiy Hashem Titharu” in which Hashem’s name is pronounced regularly as is done throughout the year.
  • Even a Torah scholar which desires to spend his time learning rather than recite the extra prayers and supplications must join the congregation in its recital.
  • Bowing on the floor by the Chazan’s repetition: The custom is to bow on the ground in the paragraph of Aleinu Lishabeiach and “Hakohanim Veham” that is said within the Chazzan’s repetition. One bows by the words “Veanachnu Korim”. The congregation and Chazan all bow when the above words are recited. It is forbidden for the Chazan to move his feet during the repetition and walk backwards in order to perform the bowing. One is to protest those that do so. The custom therefore is for the Chazan to begin Shemoneh Esrei with enough of a distance from the Amud that he will be able to bow on the ground without moving his feet.
  • One bows on the floor by the above words even when Yom Kippur coincides with Shabbos.
  • One places his forehead to the ground [i.e. Nefilas Apayim]. [There are two methods of performing the above bowing: a) The widespread custom is to kneel to the ground, resting his body on his knees and down, and bow his head to the floor until his forehead touches the ground. b) One prostrates himself completely on the ground to the point that his entire body lies flat on the floor. Some write that this later custom should not be a directive for the public. Practically the widespread custom is like the first method.]
  • It is forbidden for a person to bow his head onto a stone floor, in a way that his head directly touches the stone. This applies even if he is merely kneeling on the ground and is not prostrating his entire body. Thus, if the floor in Shul is made of stone it is forbidden to directly touch one’s face to the ground and one is to place an interval between [his head] and the ground. [Any material can serve as a valid interval, whether a towel, tissue, paper, plastic bag, grass and the like. The interval is only required to be placed between the head and the ground and is not required to be placed under the knees or other body parts. If the interval is placed only between the knees and the ground and not between the face and the ground it is invalid.] If the floor is made of wood or other non-stone material, one may bow onto the floor without any interval, having his forehead directly touch the ground, and so is the Chabad custom. However, if one fully prostrates himself on the floor with spreading his hands and feet then he requires an interval [between his face and the ground] even if the floor is made of wood or other non-stone materials.
  • Are women to bow by Aleinu? The custom is not to do so. Possibly this is due to reasons of modesty.
  • Ein Kelokeinu: The prayer of Ein Kelokeinu [and Ketores] is not recited after Musaf as is usually common.
  1. Mincha:
  • Ashreiy and Uva Letziyon: Ashreiy and Uva Letziyon are not recited prior to Mincha, and are rather recited prior to Neilah.
  • Veani Sefilasy: Is not recited even when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos being that its content is not relevant at this time.
  • Kerias Hatorah: The section of Arayos is read from Parshas Achareiy Mos, in order so one who has transgressed such a sin should properly repent over it.
  • In what Niggun is the Torah to be read in? The regular tune for Kerias Hatorah.
  • Haftorah: The Haftorah of Maftir Yona is read after the Mincha Torah reading being that it discusses the power of repentance and the fact that one cannot run away from Hashem. The custom is to only say the first three blessings after the Haftorah while the fourth blessing of “Al Hatorah Veal Haavoda is omitted.
  • Tzidkascha: The custom is to omit the prayer of Tzidkascha after Mincha [and so rules Admur in the Siddur].
  • Birchas Kohanim: The Kohanim do not recite the priestly blessing during Mincha although the Chazan does recite “Elokeinu Velokei Avoseinu”.
  • Beginning Neilah on time: One is to begin Neilah at its proper time, as will be explained next. If needed, one is to skip Avinu Malkeinu [after Mincha] in order to begin Neilah on time.
  1. Neilah:
  • When to begin and end Neilah: One is to begin Davening Neilah close to the beginning of sunset and end Neilah close to Tzeis Hakochavim. Nevertheless, the custom [in many communities] is to end Neilah past nightfall, and those which follow this custom are not to be protested. In any event those which end late should start Neilah with much time left in the day.
  • Opening the Aron: The Aron remains open throughout the entire Neilah until after the Tekiah in Kaddish.
  • Must one stand throughout Neilah? From the letter of the law one is not required to stand when the ark is open, however the custom of the world is to stand out of respect. Nevertheless, if it is difficult for one to stand, he may be seated.
  • Nesias Kappayim-Birchas Kohanim in Neilah: According to the Chabad custom Kohanim do not recite the priestly blessing during Neilah even if the Chazan finishes Neilah prior to night. [For background and other opinions see footnote] The Chazan is to recite the priestly blessing of “Elokeinu”, as is usually done when there are no Kohanim available, even if the prayer extends past nightfall.
  • Avinu Malkeinu: Avinu Malkeinu is recited after Neilah even when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos.
  • The conclusion of Neilah: At conclusion of Neilah the congregation repeats the Posuk of “Shema” after the Chazan [with intense concentration visualizing actually giving up one’s life for the sake of Heaven]. Hashem Hu Haelokim is recited seven times in order to escort the Divine presence which was with us throughout the prayer and is now being elevated above to heavens.
  • Kaddish Shalem; Napoleon’s march; Blowing the Shofar: Kaddish is recited after the recitation of Hashem Hu Elokim. Prior to Tiskabel the congregation sings Napoleon’s march, which is then followed a blast of the Shofar. 
  • Lieila Ulieila: It is not the Chabad custom to add the word “Ulieila” in Kaddish of Aseres Yimei Teshuvah [with exception to the Kaddish said during Neilah in which we say Lieila Ulieila Mikol Birchasa].
  • How many blows are to be blown? One is to blow one Tekiah after the singing of Napoleon’s match, prior to Tiskabel.
  • Must one wait until after night to blow the Shofar: It is permitted to blow the Shofar past sunset during Bein Hashmashos. [Practically however some calendars write to wait 20 minutes after sunset. Some claim that in Beis Chayeinu the Rebbe accustomed to delay the blow until after Tzeis.] According to all one may blow after nightfall, before Havdala. [Thus, it is permitted to blow more than one blow at this time if need be.]
  • The nine remaining Chapters of Tehillim: At the conclusion of Neilah, the remaining nine chapters of Tehillim are read.
  1. Maariv:
  • Wear Kittel and Tallis: One Davens Maariv and recites Havdala while still wearing his Kittel and Tallis. The Tallis is removed from one’s head and is rather placed to rest on the shoulders. One wears a hat on his head in its place.
  • Washing hands after Maariv: Immediately after Maariv, one is to wash his hands three times as is done in the morning upon awakening. No blessing is recited during this washing. [This washing is to also be done by the Kohanim which already fully washed their hands prior to Nesias Kapayim.]
  • After Shul greetings: One is to greet his friend with saying “Gut Yom Tov” being that Motzei Yom Kippur is a Yom Tov.
  • Kiddush Levana: After Maariv and Havdala one recites Kiddush Levana while still wearing a Gartel. When reciting Kiddush Levana on Motzei Yom Kippur one does not need to eat prior to saying it as one is already in a joyous mood. However, one should wash his face and change his shoes prior to doing so.
  1. Havdala:
  • Besamim: Havdala is said without Besamim. In the event that Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos the blessing over Besamim is recited in Havdala as usual. [See footnote for the custom of Sefaradim]
  • Havdala candle: On Motzei Yom Kippur the blessing of mi’orei ha’esh may only be said over a pre-existing flame that had been lit before Yom Kippur. This applies even if Yom Kippur fell on Shabbos. [In order to have two wicks for Havdala one is to join another candle to this flame and say the blessing over both candles together.]
  • The flame of a gentile: One may not use the candle of a gentile that was lit on Yom Kippur.
  • Must the actual flame that rested be used or may one also use a candle which was lit from it? From the letter of the law any flame which was lit from a flame that was lit before Yom Kippur is valid to be used. Nevertheless, it is best to be stringent to use the actual flame which was lit before Yom Kippur.
  • Using the candles of the Shul: One may light a candle from the Shul candles that have been lit from before Yom Kippur, and say Havdala on both candles together. If one is unable to say Havdala on both candles he is not to use the Shul candle and is rather to say Havdala over a candle that was lit from the Shul candle. Nevertheless, if one used the Shul candle, he does not need to repeat the blessing on a different candle.
  • What does one do if no pre-lit candle is available? If a pre-lit candle is not available either to use or to light another candle from it, then the blessing over fire is omitted during Havdala. This applies even when Motzei Yom Kippur falls on Motzei Shabbos. 
  • Must one search for pre-lit candle if it is not readily available? If one does not have a candle readily available on Motzei Yom Kippur, some say he is obligated to search for a candle to say the blessing over it.
  • May one use a Yartzite or Teshuvah candle for Havdala? No. However one may light another candle from them and then say a blessing.
  1. Motzei Yom Kippur:
  • Publicizing the greatness of the time: Motzei Yom Kippur is a slight Yom Tov. Due to that this Yom Tov is not very well known, it was therefore instituted to blow the Shofar once at the conclusion of Yom Kippur to remind the masses of the Yom Tov.
  • Wishing each other a Gut Yom Tov prior to leaving Shul: Upon leaving Shul on Motzei Yom Kippur one is to greet his friend with the customary Shabbos and Yom greeting, [saying “Gut Yom Tov”]. 
  • Holding a festive meal: A festive meal [over bread] is to be eaten on Motzei Yom Kippur just as is done on other holidays. There is a heavenly voice which proclaims to the Jewish people after Yom Kippur “Go eat in joy”. In the meal, one should dip his bread in honey.
  1. Building the Sukkah:
  • On Motzei Yom Kippur one begins building the Sukkah, [or at least talking about building it], in order to leave one Mitzvah and enter to another Mitzvah.
  • To build the Sukkah the day after Yom Kippur: It is a Mitzvah to build the entire Sukkah immediately the day after Yom Kippur after one leaves Shul.
  1. Wake up early for Shul:
  • On the day after Yom Kippur one is to awaken early for Davening.
  1. Days between Yom Kippur and Sukkos:
  • Tachanun: The days between Yom Kippur and Sukkos are days of joy, commemorating the sanctification of the tabernacle. Due to this Tachanun is not recited. From after Yom Kippur until the beginning of the month of Cheshvan Tachanun is omitted.
  • G-d’s Name: The day after Yom Kippur is referred to as “G-d’s name”. The four days between Yom Kippur and Sukkos correspond to one letter each in the name of Havayah. The first day corresponds to the letter Yud of Sheim Havayah.

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