Halacha for Sunday 9 Tishrei 5781 September 27 2020

Erev Yom Kippur

Immersion in the Mikveh
It is proper for men to immerse themselves in a Mikveh on Erev Yom Kippur. Even in his advanced years when Maran zt”l was weak and this proved difficult, he nevertheless made the effort to go and immerse in a Mikveh (located in the home of Harav Eliyahu Sheetrit Shlit”a) on Erev Yom Kippur.

Nevertheless, if one is unable to immerse one’s self in a Mikveh on Erev Yom Kippur, one should have nine Kabin of water poured on one’s body in the shower. This amounts to approximately twelve liters of water (see Chazon Ovadia- Yamim Nora’im, page 246). Thus, standing under the shower for several minutes will bring about a certain level of purity similar to immersion in a Mikveh. Clearly, this is not considered an actual immersion and is invalid anywhere a proper immersion in a Mikveh is necessary.

Prayer on Erev Yom Kippur
Mincha services are held earlier in the afternoon on Erev Yom Kippur and there are several reasons for this (see Chazon Ovadia- ibid, page 249). This will also allow for more time for everyone to partake of their last meal before the onset of this holy day. There are some Sephardic communities in the United States which have instituted that Tallit and Tefillin be worn for Mincha of Erev Yom Kippur in order to bring merit to those people who do not necessarily don Tefillin during the rest of the year and they will now do so before Yom Kippur. This is a fine custom and brings merit to the public. We have likewise heard of Maran zt”l’s approval of this custom as well.

At the end of the silent Amida during Mincha prayers, Viduy (the confessional prayer) along with the “Al Chet” texts are recited. Similarly, every time the Chazzan reaches the Viduy section of his repetition of the Amida, the congregation must rise and recite it along with him (see Chazon Ovadia- ibid, page 251).

The Last Meal
During the last meal before Yom Kippur, some have the custom to dip the bread into honey or sugar. It is nevertheless proper to leave salt on the table as well. One must conclude the meal at least a few minutes (approximately twenty) before sunset, for there is a Torah obligation to add from the mundane onto the holiness of Yom Kippur. The same applies regarding all five categories of abstinence which pertain to Yom Kippur and one must begin refraining from these things a few minutes before sunset.

Candle-Lighting
There is a Mitzvah to light candles in honor of Yom Kippur. Before doing so, one should recite the blessing: “Asher Kideshanu Be’Mitzvotav Ve’Tzivanu Le’Hadlik Ner Shel Yom Ha’Kippurim.” After lighting the candles, one should remove one’s shoes and then recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing, for it is at that point that one accepts the sanctity of Yom Kippur. However, one should not recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing immediately after the first blessing, for one would not be able to light the candles since one has already accepted the sanctity of the day.

Nice Clothing and a Tablecloth on the Table
It is a Mitzvah to wear nice clothing on Yom Kippur. Even if one is home alone, one should still wear nice clothing, as one would for Shabbat, for the Gemara (Shabbat 119a) states that part of honoring Yom Kippur is by wearing fine clothing. Maran Ha’Bet Yosef (Chapter 610) quotes the Mordechi who writes that one should place a tablecloth on one’s table for Yom Kippur as one would for Shabbat. The Mekubalim praise this custom and write that one should place some Sefarim (holy books) on the table as well. Maran zt”l writes likewise (see Chazon Ovadia- ibid page 260).

By Popular Request: If one is forced to pray alone on Yom Kippur (as a result of the Coronavirus), one may pray the entire order of the Yom Kippur prayers, as usual, including “Avinu Malkeinu” and Selichot. Nevertheless, one should only recite Hashem’s Thirteen Attributes of Mercy if one knows how to do so with its cantillation notes.

Similarly, one should omit the Aramaic portions of the Selichot, such as “Rachamana” and “De’Aneh La’Aniyeh.”

After praying Mussaf, it is especially worthy for one to recite the “Seder Ha’Avodah” (order of the Kohen Gadol’s service in the Bet Hamikdash on Yom Kippur) printed in the Chazzan’s repetition of the Mussaf prayer.

May Hashem hear our prayers and remove this plague from among us, Amen.

Gemar Hatima Tova and Tizku Le’Shanim Rabbot Ne’imot Ve’Tovot.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

Chol Ha’Mo’ed

The days between the first and seventh days (outside of Israel between the second and eighth days) of the Pesach holiday and the days between the first day of Sukkot and the holiday of Shemini Atzeret (outside of Israel between the second day of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret) are called “Chol Ha&......

Read Halacha

Everything is Foreseen and Permission is Granted

Israeli Independence Day is celebrated today. Since we have discussed this topic several times in the past, we will not delve into this matter lengthily at this point. Let us just note that according to Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l, although one must show thanks to Hashem for removing the ......

Read Halacha


The Pesach Seder-Kadesh

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh The famous order of the Seder of the eve of Pesach, Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah, was established by the leader of the entire Jewish nation, Rashi. The entire Jewish nation cus......

Read Halacha

Megillah Reading- Coronavirus

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

One Who is Unsure Whether or Not One Has Counted the Omer

We have already explained that one who has forgotten to count the Omer one day during the counting period may no longer count with a blessing on the subsequent days. The reason for this is because the Rishonim disagree as to whether the Mitzvah of counting the Omer is one long Mitzvah that span......

Read Halacha

Fallen Soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces

On the night of the 25th of Tevet, 5736 (1976), a memorial service was held for seven young men killed in Zion Square in Jerusalem by Palestinian terrorists. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l spoke beautifully at this event and we shall thus quote some select excerpts from his discourse: Our......

Read Halacha