Yom Kippur

The holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

  • The Minhag is to eat two meals on Erev Yom Kippur, one in the morning and one later on in the day (S’uedas H’mafsakas). 
  • You may eat meat and fish in the first Sueda. Some have a Minhag to eat Kreplach in the first meal. 
  • You should not eat meat or fish in the 2nd meal. The Minhag is to eat cooked chicken, potatoes etc… 
  • If you want to eat after the 2nd meal you should have in mind before you Bentch (you may drink even if you didn’t have in mind). 
  • It is preferable if you drinking water before the fast (and you are not thirsty) to make Shehakol on something else. 

On Erev Yom Kippur it is a Mitzvah for everyone to eat and drink in order to be able to fast.

  • It is especially important during pregnancy or nursing to drink and eat appropriately.
  • Starting from the morning before the fast you should drink as much liquid as possible.

On Yom Kippur,

  • A pregnant womanshould make sure not to exert herself and rest (stay in bed) as much as possible and not go to shul for long periods of time if going at all (It is more important to fast than to daven in Shul). She should stay in a cool environment.
  • She should make sure not to change positions frequently, (ie. from sitting to standing) For example if she is in shul she should not stand up every time the Oron H’Kodesh is opened.
  • She should make sure to drink a lot before the fast (starting in the morning).
  • A nursing mothershould be careful not to exert herself …. and to drink before the fast etc.
  • A nursing mother who is afraid she will not have enough milk should ask a Shailo.
  • It is important that a pregnant or nursing mother does not work too hard taking care of her children on YomKippur. She should get help so she does not have to take care of the children single handedly. Rav. Elyashav Zt”l held that it is the husband’s obligation to ensure that his wife will have a manageable fast (whether she is pregnant or not). If necessary, he should stay at home to help with the children so that his wife will be able to fast. 

A pregnant women must fast on Yom Kippur.

  • However, if she starts to feel dizzy or faint, she should lie down to see if the dizziness passes. If she sees it is not going away or she feels very unwell (more than usual) she should have something to drink (the dizziness and lightheadedness may be because of dehydration and that can cause early labor). 
  • She should preferably drink 1 oz. (schnapps cup) of grape juice (It is advisable to drink grape juice because it has a high sugar content) and wait 9 minutes [or 5 minutes] to drink another one if she needs to.
  • The Shiur of liquid that you may not drink on YomKippur is K’mlo Lugmov (the amount of liquid you can hold in one side of your mouth).
  • If you want you can measure how much liquid you can hold on one side of your mouth on Erev YomKippur and to drink less than that [it will enable you to drink more than 1oz].
  • If you are not able to wait 9 min you should try to wait for 7,6, 5 however long you can.
  • If 1 oz is not sufficient at one time you may drink what you need.
  • When not sure, be lenient.


  • It is normal to have one or two contractions while fasting. If they are very spread apart it is not a matter of concern. However, many contractions can cause early labor and in such a case she must drink to stop the contractions.  
  • If a woman starts having contractions she should lie down and rest, if the contractions continue and she is having more than 4 contractions in an hour she must drink immediately to stop the contractions. For the rest of the day she should rest in bed drinking 1oz of water every 7-8 minutes (or more frequently if need be).
  • If she feels that the contractions are very strong or she feels she is experiencing the onset of labor she should not wait to see if she is going to have 4 contractions in a hour, she should drink right away to stop the contractions.

Labor and Birth

  • If she is after 37 weeks of pregnancy (10 days into the 9th month) she is not permitted to drink to stop the contractions because it is safe to go into labor. However, once she is in active labor, the contractions are 5-7 minutes apart she should drink and eat in order to have the strength to give birth. She should drink (Pochos M’Kshiur) 1 oz and if possible wait 9 minutes etc.. (if she anticipates a short labor, she should drink normally what she needs because it is very important not to give birth dehydrated).
  • If you are not sure if you need to drink and how much etc… always be lenient, better drink more than drink too little (it is a Sofek Pikuach Nefesh).
  • The Minhag is to Bentch your children Erev Yom Kippur. 
  • When lighting the candles for Yom Kippur you make two Brochos, L’hadlik Ner Shel Yom Kipurim and Shechayonu. 
  • Women should take off their shoes before lighting the candles if they say Sh’cheyonu, because they are Mekabel Yom Kippur with the Brocha of Sh’cheyonu. 
  • If they want to go to Shul by car, they should not say Sh’cheyonu when they light and they should have in mind not to be Mekabel Yom Kippur when they light. 
  • You should make sure that the candles will still be burning when you come home from Shul (if no one is staying at home). You should cover your tables with white tablecloths as on Shabbos. 
  • You should light a Yohr Tzeit light for your departed parent/parents. Some light one for both and some light one for each one. 
  • Some married men light a light (24hr) for themselves. 
  • It is preferable to light an extra light to be able to say Boreh M’oray H’Aish on Motzei Yom Kippur. 
  • You should not put on perfume or use a stick deodorant on Yom Kippur. 
  • You may use spray deodorants that are not oil-based. 
  • You may not rinse out your mouth with water or mouthwash. 
  • You may not wash your hands or face. 
  • For Negel Vasser or after the bathroom, you may wash your hands only up to the knuckles closest to the wrists. 
  • If your hands or any other place on your body are not clean you may wash just the area that is not clean. 
  • Some women have a Minhag to wear white clothes on Yom Kippur. 
  • Some have a Minhag not to wear jewelry made from gold.
  • You should not wear fancy jewelry as you wear on Yom Tov. You may wear what you wear on a weekday. 
  • You have to separate from your husband on Yom Kippur as during Nida. You can’t touch, sleep in one bed, pass etc…  
  • If you have a severe headache on Yom Kippur you may use a suppository (Tylenol or Aspirin etc..). 
  • You do not say Boreh Minah B’somim in Havdolah but you do say Borah M’orai H’aish.
  • However, not like Shabbos on Yom Kippur we say Boreh M’oray H”Aish on a light that was burning the entire Yom Kippur. You should light an extra Yurzeit light for this purpose.
  • If you don’t have a light that was burning the entire Yom Kippur you should strike  a match and light a candle with the match and use the candle to say Borai M’orai H’aish.
  • You may drink water Motzei Yom Kippur before hearing Havdolah, you should first say Boruch Hamavdil and then you can drink.  

Wishing you a G’mar Chasimah Tova 

Hakodosh Boruch Hu should be Mekabel our T’filos and we should all have a year of health, Hazlocha, Simcha, Brocha, Parnossa, and Nachas. 

We should merit to the coming of Moshiach should this year. 

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