Bein Adam L’chaveiro

  1. Yom Kippur does not atone for one’s aveiros bein adam l’chaveiro unless he appeased the one he wronged (שו”ע תר”ו ס”א). This applies to parents, rebbeim, spouses, siblings, friends, neighbors, and especially enemies. Many people make sure to ask forgiveness from friends they almost never offend but not from people they are in a conflict or argument with. During these days, one should think about who he really needs to ask forgiveness from.

Unaware He Was Wronged

  • Some hold that if one wronged someone else but that person does not know about it, e.g., someone spoke lashon hara about another person who is unaware about the lashon hara, but got damaged as a result, he must inform him about the lashon hara and then ask forgiveness (כ”כ הח”ח כלל ה’ סי”ב); others hold it is better to leave him unaware since by asking forgiveness, he may cause more pain when he tells his friend he spoke badly about him (כך מקובל בשם הגר”י סלנטר, מועדים וזמנים ח”א סי’ נ”ד); they hold that he should ask for a general forgiveness without specifying how he wronged him.

Forgiveness in Word Only

  • If one asked forgiveness from his friend and his friend said he forgave him but he knows he did not really mean it, some poskim hold that it does not work; since forgiveness is primarily in the heart, we do not apply the rule of “devarim sheb’leiv einam devarim” [things in the heart alone are inconsequential] (שו”ת רע”א סי’ כ”ג ד”ה מ”ש מעכ”ת, חוט שני יוכ”פ בשם החזו”א). Others say we apply the rule of devarim sheb’leiv einam devarim even here (זכרון אבן ציון עמ’ תקמ”ב בשם הגרש”ז מקלם וגליוני הש”ס קידושין מ”ט ע”ב).


Kaparos without a Hashgachah

  • Some organizations in Eretz Yisroel arrange for people to do kaparos on the street without any hashgachah [a recommendation that the organization is worthy of tzedakah is not a hashgachah for kaparos, even when written by a prominent rav]. This creates many issues: sometimes the same chicken is used several times in multiple places [the Magen Avraham allows several people to use one chicken together, not at separate times]; sometimes chickens are out in the heat without eating or drinking and die before they are shechted; most of the time, the chickens are returned to the farm they were taken from, and even if they do get shechted, they usually end up getting shechted only after Yom Kippur. This does not fulfill the minhag of kaparos (חוט שני יוהכ”פ עמ’ צ”ה). Also, they are not given to the poor (היכל הוראה ח”א הוראה ע”ז). While giving money to the organization may be tzedakah, someone who does this does not fulfill the minhag of kaparos. One should only do so at a reliable place under hashgachah.


  • Some people perform kaparos for a pregnant woman with two hens [female] and one rooster [male] (מ”ב תר”ה סק”ג).
  • Some poskim say that one may rely on an ultrasound’s determination of the baby’s gender to avoid having to use three chickens (מו”ר בשו”ת קנה בשם ח”ב סי’ כ’); others say one may not since it is sometimes incorrect (בעל מנח”י שם בהג”ה).
  • Some say a woman in the first 40 days of her pregnancy does not need to do kaparos for her baby (בעל שבט הלוי, קובץ מבית הלוי ח”ב עמ’ י”ז). Others say it is proper to do kaparos for her baby (שו”ת שבט הקהתי ח”ב סי’ קצ”ח, הגר”ח קנייבסקי תורת המועדים סק”ד אות ג’).

Kisui Hadam

  • The minhag of shochtim is to honor a respectable person with the mitzvah of kisui hadam. The one who does the kisui says the brachah, “אקב”ו על כיסוי דם בעפר” (מט”א תר”ד ס”ח).
  • According to halachah, chayos, which commonly have treifah-defects, must be inspected for treifos before doing kisui hadam so that the brachah will not be in vain (שו”ע יו”ד סי’ כ”ח ס”כ). After shechting fowl, which do not commonly have treifah-defects, one may do kisui hadam right after checking the knife.
  • Nowadays that many fowl are treifos and mehudar shechitos include a treifah-inspection of each bird, it would seem that one should only do kisui hadam after the inspection. The places that do not check the chickens right then and there rely on the fact that most are not treifos. A chicken cannot be checked for treifos before shechitah so we rely on majority to make the brachah on shechitah; these places rely on the majority to make a brachah on the kisui as well.
  • One who does kaparos in a place where the shechted chicken is plucked and checked for treifos on the spot [as many places in Yerushalayim do, e.g., Beis Yaakov Hayashan of the Eidah Chareidis], kisui hadam should be done only after it was checked and determined to be kosher (שו”ת חוקי חיים ח”א סי’ ט’).
  • One who does kisui hadam on multiple chickens together may lechatchilah make the brachah without checking for treifos since it is very likely that one of the chickens is kosher (כ”ק מרן גאב”ד ירושלים שם).


  1. If one did kaparos with a chicken that turned out to be a treifah, he does not need to do the kaparos again since the main kaparah is achieved by giving the money value of the chicken to the poor (א”א בוטשאטש מהדו”ת ס”א).
  2. If one did kaparos in a place where chickens are shechted on site and taken home or given directly to the poor to eat [as is done at Beis Yaakov Hayashan in Yerushalayim] and his turned out to be a treifah, some say that since he does not need to do kaparos again, they do not need to give him another chicken since his payment was primarily to fulfill the minhag (מו”ר הגר”מ בראנדסדארפער זצ”ל); others say that they definitely must give him another chicken since he paid full price to get a kosher chicken for a kaparah that he will later be able to eat or give directly to the poor (מו”ר הגרי”י בלויא זצ”ל).

Erev Yom Kippur

Mitzvah to Eat

  1. It is a mitzvah to eat more than usual on Erev Yom Kippur (שו”ע תר”ד ס”א). This includes drinking as well (מ”ב ססק”א). Most poskim hold this mitzvah also applies to women.
  2. Some say this mitzvah begins the night before Yom Kippur (מג”א סק”א בשם השל”ה); others say it starts in the day (ביאור הגר”א ויד אפרים).

Avinu Malkeinu at Minchah

  1. Avinu Malkeinu is not said at Minchah on Erev Yom Kippur (רמ”א סי’ תר”ד ס”ב).


  1. Most men and boys in Klal Yisroel go to the mikveh on Erev Yom Kippur (טור או”ח סי’ תר”ו). Some say this is because of tumah (רמ”א שם ס”ד); others say it is for teshuvah (מג”א).
  2. Chatzitzah. We are more careful about chatzitzos for this tevilah than for others. Therefore, before toveling, one should trim his fingernails and toenails [it is better to trim the toenails a day before (שו”ע או”ח סי’ ר”ס)], clean the skin under his nails, brush his teeth, and wash his whole body in hot water (מטה אפרים סי”ב).
  3. Nine kav. If going to the mikveh is difficult for someone, e.g., an elderly or ill individual, he may pour nine kav (רמ”א שם) of drawn water [“mayim she’uvim”] (מ”ב סי’ פ”ח סק”ד) over himself. Nine kav is either 21.6 [Chazon Ish] or 12.5 [Rav Chaim Na’eh] liters.
  4. Shower. Several poskim hold that nowadays, one who must rely on the heter of nine kav may do so by standing under the shower. It is preferable that he stand under the showerhead before turning on the water (שו”ת מנח”י ח”ד סי’ כ”א). Also, he should make sure to stand under a strong stream of water (שו”ת שבט הלוי ח”א סי’ כ”ד).

Hadlakas Neiros

  • Although lighting candles before Yom Kippur is only a minhag (שו”ע סי’ תר”י), this minhag has spread throughout the world. By lighting, a woman accepts the kedushah of Yom Kippur upon herself. Thus, she should take off her shoes before lighting unless she stipulated otherwise.
  • Brachah. The minhag is to make a brachah on this hadlakah (רמ”א סי’ תר”י ס”ב). The brachah is “אקב”ו להדליק נר של יום הכיפורים” [even though we generally do not make brachos on minhagim, it can be derived from Rishonim that since lighting candles is a mitzvah before Shabbos and Yom Tov, one could make a brachah even though it is a minhag (קונטרס ענינא דיומא, החתן צבי לאנגער נ”י). The Gra holds that one does not make a brachah since it is only a minhag (שעה”צ שם סק”ה, מעשה רב סי’ רי”א)].
  • Shehecheyanu. The minhag is for women to say Shehecheyanu after the brachah on the hadlakah. In shul, they should not say Shehecheyanu again; they should just answer Amen (שעה”צ תריט סק”ז).
  • Additionally, if the husband is in town, there should be a candle lit in a married couple’s bedroom (רמ”א ס”א) that will burn all night (שלחן גבוה אות א’, שפ”א פסחים נ”ג ע”ב ד”ה בגמ’). A Shabbos lamp is not enough as it can be closed. Married children who will be sleeping in their parents’ house should also light a candle in their bedroom.

Tefillah Zakah

  • Tefillah Zakah was instituted to be said on Erev Yom Kippur. It contains vidui for aveiros bein adam l’chaveiro and a declaration forgiving everyone without relinquishing the ability to collect money legally owed. One should make sure to say this tefillah, especially the paragraph concerning bein adam l’chaveiro.
  • Women should also at least say this paragraph in order to forgive others who have wronged them.


Pregnant, Nursing

  • Pregnant and nursing women must fast on Yom Kippur and make up the fast if they break it (שו”ע תרי”ז ס”א). This is true for today’s weaker generation as well even though we are sometimes meikel on other fasts.
  • If a woman fears for some reason that the fast will harm her or diminish her milk in a way that will harm her baby, she should consult a rav.
  • If a pregnant or nursing woman can only fast if she stays in bed the whole day, it is better for her husband to daven at home and watch the children if there is no other option than for her to eat.
  • Recently gave birth. A woman should not fast at all within three days of giving birth. Between four and seven days, if she says she needs to eat, she may. After a week, she is like any other person (שו”ע שם ס”ד). Days after birth are counted as twenty-four-hour periods (מ”ב סקי”ג) from the end of the delivery (סי’ ש”ל סקי”א).
  • Nursing. If a nursing woman will not have any milk if she fasts and she never gives her baby formula, she may drink in increments, as will be explained (הגרשז”א הליכות שלמה יוהכ”פ פ”ו ס”ב).

Eating in Increments [“Shiurim”].

  • When a pregnant or ill person must eat, they should eat a bit at a time, i.e., a volume of about two-thirds of an average-sized egg, then wait the amount of time it takes to eat four beitzah (שו”ע תרי”ח ס”ז).
  • In modern day terms, this is 30 cc of food every nine minutes, i.e., nine minutes between the end of one eating and the beginning of the next (חזו”א סי’ ל”ט סקי”ח). Crumbs between the teeth and gums count in the calculation of these amounts (מנ”ח מצוה י’ אות ב’).
  • The volume of 1.5 whole wheat Osem brand Lachmit crackers [the ones in the green packaging which are about the size of the palm of a hand] are comfortably within the shiur. Thus, someone who fears they may need to eat on Yom Kippur should have these ready in the house in case they will need them.


  • Any unwell individual should consult their doctor about fasting and then get a psak from a rav. If someone sick gets a psak that they may not fast or that they must eat or drink in increments, he should accept the psak with love and joy in fulfilling the mitzvah of “vachai bahem,” which is no less important than the mitzvah to fast on Yom Kippur. If he is upset that he is eating, he should have kavanah that the fact that he needs to eat on this holy day itself should be part of his affliction on Yom Kippur. One may not ch”v treat this lightly and endanger himself.

Drinking in Increments

  • The shiur for drinking is a cheekful of liquid. This varies for each person (מ”ב סקכ”א). In modern day terms, this is 32 cc for a small person and 40 cc for an average person. Since it is difficult to determine exactly who is considered average, big, or small, one should try to stick to 32 cc.
  • When drinking in increments, one should make a brachah before the first time he drinks; after that, he does not make another brachah, even if he waited ten minutes or so before drinking again. If one did not drink for hours or left the house, he should make another brachah. One should not make a brachah acharonah (שו”ת מהרש”ם ח”ו סי’ ל”ח).
  • Food does not join together with drink for these purposes. Thus, in the same nine minutes, one may eat less than the shiur of food and drink less than the shiur of liquid. This is only assuming he has to eat and drink; if it would be enough for one to just drink in increments, as is often the case, he does not have a heter to eat.
  • One may use a small shot glass which holds 32 cc. A small ice pop [“igloo”] is usually less than the shiur, but one should check what the packaging says.
  • One should make things easier by preparing the proper amounts of food and/or drink before Yom Kippur, especially for a woman whose husband will not be around during the day, to avoid shailos.
  • It is advisable for one who must drink in increments to drink something sweet, e.g., grape juice or orange juice, so that the sugar gives him strength, possibly eliminating the need to eat (הגרשז”א, נשמת אברהם סי’ תרי”ב סק”א).
  • Shailah: If a person is weak and may need to eat or drink, is it better to start the fast eating/drinking in increments, or to fast, which may ultimately lead to eating more than the shiur? Answer: Most poskim say it is better to start eating/drinking in increments and not eventually need to eat more than the shiur (שו”ת אג”מ ח”ד קכ”א, מועדים וזמנים ח”ח כ”א).

One Who Is Eating on Yom Kippur

  • Netilas yodayim. Someone sick or pregnant who must eat on Yom Kippur must wash if they are eating bread. They should wash their entire hands as usual. After getting up in the morning and using the bathroom they should wash their hands only to the knuckles.
  • Kiddush. Although some poskim discuss whether a sick person eating on Yom Kippur needs to make Kiddush (רע”א הובא בשעה”צ סי’ תרי”ח סקכ”ב), most poskim imply that he does not (מ”ב שם).
  • Yaaleh Veyavo. If one bentches on Yom Kippur, he should say Yaaleh Veyavo. If he forgets, he does not go back (שו”ע סי’ תרי”ח ס”י). In Al Hamichyah, he should say “וזכרנו לטובה ביום הכיפורים הזה” (שש”כ פל”ט הע’ ק”ו).

Motzei Yom Kippur


  • Havdalah is made over a cup of wine. A brachah is made on the wine and candle, but not besamim [when Yom Kippur falls during the week] (שו”ע תרכ”ד ס”ג).
  • Someone who becomes weak after tzeis, e.g., at the end of Ne’ilah or a woman whose husband did not come home right away, may drink water in private, even before Maariv and Havdalah (אלף המגן ס”ד). It is proper to say “Baruch Hamavdil” before drinking since it was assur to drink on Yom Kippur (הגרשז”א, שש”כ פס”ב סכ”ה).
  • Lechatchilah, a woman should hear Havdalah from another man, not make it herself. If she cannot hear it from someone else, she may make it herself and drink the wine (שו”ת שבט הלוי ח”ד סי’ נ”ד).

“Neir Sheshavas”

  • Lechatchilah one should make Havdalah on a candle that was lit before Yom Kippur to be used for Havdalah and that burned throughout the whole Yom Kippur (שם מ”ב סקי”ג).
  • If one did not do this, or if the candle went out, he may light the Havdalah candle from a candle lit in honor of Yom Kippur or a yahrzeit candle lit before Yom Kippur (א”א בוטשאטש).
  • If one cannot find a candle lit before Yom Kippur, the Mishnah Berurah holds he should not make the brachah on the candle (מ”ב סק”י). Other poskim hold that with no other choice, one may light a new candle and then light the Havdalah candle from that flame and make the brachah (ח”א כלל קמ”ה ס”מ וערוה”ש ס”ו). If this is also not possible, one should make Havdalah without a candle and, when he finds a candle lit before Yom Kippur, make a brachah on that.

Zerachya Shicker is the translator for the English version of חוקי חיים. The Chukai Chaim is a halacha sheet in a league of its own. Started in August 2016 (Av 5776), the Chukai Chaim currently has a readership in the tens of thousands across the globe.

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