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Laws & Customs

Laws & Customs

 Updated version for 5778 will be posted shortly


Honey Cake It is a holy and well established custom to request of one another a piece of “Lekach,” honey cake, on Erev (the eve of) Yom Kippur, Tuesday, October 11

Mikvah – Men and boys customarily go to the Mikvah before Yom Kippur Tuesday, October 11.

Food on Erev (the eve of) Yom Kippur On Erev Yom Kippur, only light and easily digestible food should be eaten. It is also customary to avoid eating garlic, eggs and sesame seeds. Chicken is eaten but not red meat. 

Festive Meals Erev Yom Kippur is considered a Yom Tov and two meat (chicken) meals should be eaten on that day. Kreplach are traditionally eaten and the Challah is dipped in honey. 

Tzedakah We increase in the giving of Tzedakah on Erev Yom Kippur, especially in the afternoon before Mincha, more than every other day of the year. 

Early Mincha Mincha is prayed early in the afternoon, leaving time for the final meal to be eaten afterwards. The service is the regular weekday Minchah service with the Viduy (confession) added to it. 

Candle for the Living Many people light a "Lebedike Licht,” a 24-hour candle, for one’s own soul before the onset of Yom Kippur. This should not be confused at all with the Yahrzeit candles that some people light on Erev Yom Kippur for those that have passed away. 

Extra Viduy The Viduy, confession, is said again immediately before sundown on Erev Yom KippurTuesday, October 11 at 6:21 PM

Kittel Married men wear a Kittel and daven with a Talit for all services on Yom Kippur, beginning with Kol Nidrei. If one wants to say a Bracha on his Talit, care should be taken that it be put on before sundown, 6:21 PM

Baruch Shem Whenever we say the Shema during Yom Kippur, we also say the second verse, Baruch Shem, aloud. (During the rest of the year, this verse is intentionally said in an undertone.) 

Five Prohibitions The five prohibitions of Yom Kippur are: eating and drinking, wearing leather shoes, washing, anointing oneself with oil and marital relations. 

Washing Hands When washing hands after using the bathroom and in the morning upon arising, wash only until the point where the fingers meet the palm of the hand. The blessing of Al Netilat Yadayim is still recited. After the fast, hands must be completely washed until the wrist, as is done every morning throughout the year. A blessing is not recited at that point. 

Last Blast The Shofar is blown after Neilah right before the end of the fast, on October 12. The Shofar can be blown any time after sundown. It does not symbolize the end of Yom Kippur and one must continue to fast until after Havdala, at 7:00 PM. Similarly, no work or Melachah may be done until 7:00 PM, though one may have already heard the Shofar. 

Kiddush Levana Kiddush Levana is traditionally said immediately after Yom Kippur. 

Break Fast After Yom Kippur, a festive meat meal is eaten. The challah is dipped in honey at this meal. 

First Mitzvah Many people begin building their Sukkah, or at least begin discussing building their Sukkah, right after Yom Kippur.


May the entire Jewish community be inscribed for a good and sweet year, Ketivah VaChatimah Tova, both materially and spiritually!


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