Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur

The Laws of Yom Kippur

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  1. One day (no decree of two days for Diaspora because of danger) - from just before sunset until definitely night the next day- three medium size stars can be seen.

  2. Honor of Yom Tov - self, clothing, environment.

  3. Candle lighting. Many also light Yahrzeit candles: "The soul of man is the candle of G-d."

  4. Begging forgiveness. The day only atones for sins between man and G-d. Sins against people require forgiveness from offended party in addition to Divine forgiveness. Offender must ask for forgiveness. Offended obligated to forgive (with certain exceptions).

  5. Eating heartily on the day before Yom Kippur. Enjoyment of this world for right reasons is as spiritual as fasting. Also pragmatic reason. Festive meal - challah etc.

  6. Stop eating before sunset - adding to Shabbat and Festivals.

  7. Prohibitions: "You shall afflict your soul..."; not suffering; ignoring the physical, focus on spiritual.
    1. Work - melacha - same as Shabbat
    2. Eating and drinking
    3. Washing (except direct cleansing of dirt)
    4. Anointing - creams, lotions etc.
    5. Leather or leather covered shoes
    6. Intimacy

  8. Pikuach nefesh - Danger to life (even doubtful) overrides all prohibitions of Yom Kippur.
  9. Prayer - theme of repentance and forgiveness.
    Kol Nidrei - All my vows. Custom of "permitting vows" on eve of Yom Kippur.
    Service of the High Priest - Avodah at Musaf.

  10. Viduy - Confession to G-d of sins. (To G-d alone - not to another person)
    1. Standing
    2. Bowed
    3. "Beating" heart
    4. Sincerity

  11. In addition to morning, Musaf, afternoon and evening services -
    Ne'ilah - Closing of the gates - recited immediately prior to sunset.
    Selichot and 13 attributes of mercy. Finishes with declarations of belief in G-d:
    • Shma Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad
    • Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuto L'olam Va'ed
    • Hashem Hu Ha'elokim - "Hashem is G-d"

  12. Shofar sounded after evening service. Fast ends.

  13. Havdalah - wine, candle, no spices unless Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbos.

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