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 Laws of Motza’ei Tisha Be’av and the Tenth of Av

Following halachic nightfall on Tisha Be’av which is approximately twenty minutes after sunset (somewhat later in the United States), one is permitted to eat and drink. It is customary to recite Birkat Ha’Levana (blessing on the new moon) following Arvit prayers on Motza’ei Tisha B......

Read Halacha

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5781, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

Yesterday, Shabbat, we marked Rosh Chodesh Av. Next Sunday (beginning from Motza’ei Shabbat), will mark Tisha Be’av. May Hashem soon switch this month to one of joy and celebration. The Jewish Nation’s Fortune During the Month of Av Although we customarily implement some mourn......

Read Halacha

Tisha Be’av Falls Coincides With Motza’ei Shabbat- Clothing for Tisha Be’av

The Baraita in Masechet Ta’anit (30a) states that our Sages prohibited five things on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s self with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages said (Ta’anit 30b): “One......

Read Halacha


Reciting Birkat Hamazon While Travelling by Car

Question: If one is eating while travelling by car, may one recite Birkat Hamazon while continuing to travel? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that our Sages have instituted that one must recite Birkat Hamazon while seated in order for one to have optimum concentration while bles......

Read Halacha

Question: Is there an obligation to leave an area in one’s home unplastered or unfinished as is the custom of some G-d-fearing individuals?

Answer: The Gemara (Baba Batra 60b) states that following the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash, the Sages of that generation instituted that one may not build a house plastered and adorned like a king’s residence. Rather, when one builds a home and plasters it, one should leave an area of one ......

Read Halacha

Question: Must a woman remove the nail polish from her fingernails before performing Netilat Yadayim?

Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that before washing one’s hands for a bread meal, one must make sure that there is no substance stuck to one’s hands that will cause a separation between one’s hands and the water. Any substance which constitutes a “separation......

Read Halacha

Nullification of Danger-Based Prohibitions

Question: Last Friday, I was standing next to the stove in the kitchen. The was an open pot of fish on the stove and alongside it, I was frying Schnitzel (coated chicken-breast) when mistakenly, some drops of oil from the frying pan flew into the pot of fish. Is the fish still permissible for consum......

Read Halacha