1. There is a mitzvah to eat on erev Yom Kippur and to have elaborate
meals. It is prohibited to fast even a fast for a bad dream. If someone
vowed to fast on this day see siman 170:2.
2. We do not say tachanun on erev Yom Kippur. We also do not say
למנצח and מזמור לתודה . Additionally, we do not say many selichos
early in the morning but there are places that do say many selichos
and each place should follow their custom. There is a disagreement
whether אבינו מלכנ ו is recited on erev Yom Kippur and the custom in
my town is that it is not recited except when Yom Kippur falls on
Shabbos. Since אבינו מלכנו will not be recited on Shabbos we say it on
erev Yom Kippur.
1. One should refrain from following the custom to perform the
“kaparah” ceremony on erev Yom Kippur of slaughtering a chicken
for each male and reading some pesukim. Some Gaonim record this
practice as did many later authorities and it is the custom in all these
regions and one should not deviate from it since it is an ancient custom.
The custom is to take a male for a male, a female for a female
and a woman who is pregnant takes two in case she gives birth to a
male. We choose white chickens in accordance with the pasuk that
states (Yishayahu 1:18), “If your sins will be red like crimson they will
be whitened like snow.” The custom is to give the chickens to the
poor or to redeem the chickens with money and to give that to the
poor. Some places have the custom to visit graves and to give more
tzedaka and it is a proper custom. One should slaughter the chicken
right after it was passed over a person and he put his hands on it
similar to the procedure for a korban. The intestines are thrown on
the roof or into the courtyard, places from which birds will take it.
1. Yom Kippur does not atone for sins between man and his friend until
he first appeasing him. Even if one merely teased his friend he must
appease him. If the offended party is not appeased the first time the
offender asks forgiveness the offender must return a second and third
time and each time he should bring with him three people. If he is
not appeased after three times the offender is no longer responsible
to pursue the matter further. (However, one should declare before ten
people that he asked for forgiveness) If the offended is one’s Torah
teacher he must continue to ask for forgiveness until he is appeased.
The offended should not be cruel and refuse to forgive the offender
unless his intention is for the benefit of the offender. If the offender
gave the offended a bad name he is not required to forgive him.
2. If the offended died the offender must bring ten people to his grave
and declare, “I have sinned against the G-d of Israel and this person
against whom I have sinned.” (The custom is to ask for forgiveness on
erev Yom Kippur.)
3. There is an ancient enactment supported by a ban that one should
not speak negatively about the deceased.
4. One may immerse and receive lashes whenever he wants as long as it
is before nightfall. There is no beracha recited on the immersion. It
is sufficient to immerse once and one need not confess his sins at that
time since the purpose is to remove the tumah of keri. Pouring nine
kav of water will also be effective. If someone lost a relative between
Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur it is permitted to bathe and immerse
on erev Yom Kippur since Yom Kippur will cancel the remainder of
shiva. Although the custom is that a mourner refrains from bathing
throughout the sheloshim, nevertheless, immersing for a mitzvah is
1. One must confess in mincha before the seudas hamafsekes. Individuals
confess at the end of their shemone esrei and the shaliach tzibbur
says it on Yom Kippur within shemone esrei.
2. It is not necessary for one to specify his sins but if one wants to specify
his sins he may do so and one who davens quietly should specify his
sins. When one davens out loud or when the shaliach tzibbur says
chazaras hashatz it is unnecessary for him to specify his sins. That
which we say על חטא in ‘ א’-ב order is not considered specifying one’s
sins. Since it is read together by the tzibbur it is considered a standard
3. One must confess while standing even if hears the shaliach tzibbur
and has already confessed he must stand. He should repeat his confession
with the shaliach tzibbur. The primary part of the confession is
the declaration .אבל אנחנו חטאנו
4. Sins for which one confessed about last year and were not repeated this
year may, nevertheless, be confessed about again.
5. In mincha on erev Yom Kippur one does not conclude the confession with
a beracha. And the shaliach tzibbur does not repeat the ודוי during
chazaras hashatz, rather he reads a standard chazaras hashatz. We do
not say אבינו מלכנ ו and tachanun is certainly not recited.
6. The entire congregation receives forty lashes after mincha to motivate
them to repent for their transgressions. The custom is that the one receiving
lashes should say ודו י while receiving the lashes and the one
administering the lashes should read ‘ והוא רחום וכו three times which will
total thirty-nine words corresponding to the thirty-nine lashes. The custom
is to use a thin strap since it is only a commemoration of Biblical
lashes and the strap should be made from calf hide based on the pasuk,
ידע שור קנהו . The one receiving lashes should not be standing or sitting, he
should be bent over facing north and his back towards the south. Yom
Kippur only atones for those who believe in its ability to atone but those
who reject it and question whether Yom Kippur will do something for
them, will not be atoned.
1. We finish eating before bein hashemashos since we have
to extend the kedusha into chol. There is no minimum
amount of time that must be added; rather before bein
hashemashos, which is the time it takes to walk 1500
amos before nightfall, one must add some time to the
sanctity of the day, whether a little or a lot.
2. Women eat and drink until dark and are unaware that
there is a mitzvah to add to the sanctity of the day and we
do not protest against this practice so that they should not
do it intentionally. The same is true regarding other
prohibitions in that we say it is better for a person to
transgress inadvertently than to transgress intentionally.
This applies to mitzvos that are not explicit in the Torah but
we must protest violations of those mitzvos that are explicit
in the Torah. If one knows that his words will not be
heeded one should not rebuke publicly more than once.
One should not rebuke multiple times if one knows that the
rebuke will not be heard. One is obligated to rebuke an
individual until the recipient strikes or curses the one
3. If one stopped eating while it was yet day he may
continue to eat as long as he did not accept the
fast. See above siman 553 that mentally accepting
the fast is not an acceptance of the fast.
4. On erev Yom HaKippurim one should only eat
foods that are easy to digest so that one should not
be full and feel haughty when he davens. One
should also not eat foods that warm the body so
that he should not experience an emission.
Similarly, one should not eat milchigs since it
increases zera but it may be eaten during the
1. It is permitted to insulate food on erev Yom HaKippurim for after
Yom HaKippurim. Some authorities maintain that one should not
insulate food on Yom HaKippurim and that is the custom in these
1. In places where the custom is to kindle a lamp on the night of
Yom HaKippurim the lamp should be kindled, and in those
places where the custom is not to kindle a lamp it should not be
kindled. (If one has a lamp in his home it should kindled in the
room where one sleeps so that he should not be with his wife
being that he will see her by the light of the lamp.) If it falls on
Shabbos everyone is obligated to kindle the lamp. And the
beracha is להדליק נר של שבת ושל יום הכיפורים.
2. There is an opinion that maintains that one should recite a
beracha when kindling lights on Yom HaKippurim. And that is
the custom in these countries.
3. In all places they kindle lights in the batei kineisiyos, the batei
midrashos, the dark alleyways and above the ill.
4. The custom in all places is to increase the number of lamps and
to spread out nice cloths in the Beis HaKnesses. And the custom
is for each adult and child to kindle a lamp as well as a yahrtzeit
lamp for one’s father and mother who passed away and these
practices are correct and were recorded by some of our teachers.
If these lamps go out on Yom HaKippurim one should not ask a
gentile to rekindle them. If one’s lamp went out on Yom Kippur
one should rekindle it after Yom Kippur and it should not be
extinguished; rather it should be left burning until it is finished
and one should commit that for the rest of his life he will not
extinguish his or someone else’s lamp after Yom Kippur. Some
maintain that one should prepare the table on Yom Kippur as
one does for Shabbos and this is the custom. Some have the
custom to wear white, clean clothing on Yom Kippur similar to
the angels and we are also accustomed to wear a kittel which is
clean and white. It is also a garment worn by the deceased
which will subjugate and break one’s heart.