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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 10 Apr 2020 05:41 PM and ends Sat 11 Apr 2020 06:40 PM

Laws of the Yamim noraim

כ"ט אלול ה' אלפים תשס"ח

Click to read Summary of Halochos of Succos from the desk of Rabbi Yaakov Sprung Mara D'Atra of Mizrach Organisation.



HATTARAS NEDARIM (vow annulment) should be done in the presence of a Tribunal of three men. This procedure should be utilized during the Aseres Yemai Teshuva if neglected before Rosh Hashana.


It is customary for men to immerse themselves in the Mikvah in the afternoon (after Chatzos, halachik midday.  This year 5769 on 29/9/08 @ 12.10 p.m.).



Customarily, at the beginning of the evening meal - after hamotzi - we dip an apple in honey, recite a Borai P’ri Ha’etz and eat it. The Yehi Ratzon Shechadeish Aleinu Shana Tova U’Mesuka (i.e. asking  G-d for a good and sweet year), should then be said.


Other customs include:

Eating pomegranates, that our Zechuyot (merits) be multiplied as the seeds of a pomegranate. 

Eating dates, that our enemies be silenced.

Eating only sweet things.

Refrain from eating nuts because of the Hebrew numerical value equivalent to sin.

Eating carrot tzimmes, that our merits be multiplied.

Eating squash, that the evil decree shall be torn and our merits presented before You.

Eating leeks, that our enemies be vanquished.

Eating the head of a fish or sheep, that Klal Yisroel may be the head of nations, not the trailing people.

Eating fish, that we should multiply as fish.

Eating beets or spinach, that all enemies shall be removed.


On the first day of Rosh Hashana (or second day when the first coincides with Shabbos), it is customary to recite Tashlich during the afternoon by a river bank.


One should try not to sleep during the afternoons of Rosh Hashana unless one’s waking moments would be spent in idle conversation.


During the Aseres Yemai Teshuva, beginning with Rosh Hashana, additions/changes are inserted in the Shemonah Esrai to underscore our prayers to the King of Kings for life and prosperity. One should be most careful to recite all Tefilos directly from the Siddur during this period so as not to err or delete.


Males over the age of thirteen must hear the Shofar blasts on Rosh Hashana.  Women, customarily, make every  effort to hear them, as well.


Because the two days of Rosh Hashana are considered a single Halachik day, the recitation of Shehechiyanu on the second night is questionable.  Therefore, during Kiddush, one should wear a new article of clothing or set a new fruit on the table so that the Shehechiyanu of Kiddush may relate to this as well.



Kapparos are recited by many with either a rooster or hen (depending upon the gender of the individual) which is then slaughtered and eaten. The more prevalent custom is to use money and donate it to the poor.


Mincha, along with the Viddui (confession), should be recited before the last meal prior to the fast.


Men should attend the mikva immediately before mincha or after the Seuda Hamafsekes.


The special prayer of Zakhai found in most machzorim should be recited before Kol Nidre.  Every man should arrive at shul while it is still day, to put on one’s tallis with a bracha.


It is customary to light yahrzeit candles for deceased parents (only before a Yom Tov when Yizkor is recited) and for married men to light an additional candle.


The white “kittel” has been accepted as the most proper article of clothing to be worn by adult males on Yom Kippur.



The following activities are prohibited:

Any of the 39 forbidden melachos of Shabbos.

Eating & drinking


Anointing oneself with any form of ointment & lotions, etc.

Wearing leather shoes: no shoes having any leather content whatsoever e.g. sneakers with leather tops or adorning strips or details, should be worn.

Marital relations


Upon arising in the morning and after washroom use, one should wash his hands till the knuckles. Yizkor should be said even during one’s 12 months of aveilut.

On Motzei Yom Kippur the ner (havdalah candle) should be kindled from a fire that was in existence during Yom Kippur.


It is a minhag to begin building one’s sukkah on Motzai Yom Kippur.



Sick on Yom Kippur?  States the Mishnah B’rurah (Orach Chayim 4218, s”k 5) “The Poskim (decizors of Jewish Law) have written – if a sick person wishes to act severely and fast, notwithstanding his obvious need for food, to him do G-d’s words apply, “surely will I [hold you] account[able] for your blood.” (Genesis 9/5)


Not everyone, unfortunately, is well enough to fast – even on Yom Kippur.  Such people are not only exempt from doing so, but are not permitted to endanger their lives in the attempt. I once turned to a member’s aged, frail parent and forcefully informed him that he was going about his avoda, his Yom Kippur service of HaShem, incorrectly. “Your avodah”, I told him, “is to daven with all your heart, fueled by the intake of food in specific, smaller amounts (if possible in such fashion).  Your eating is, not a negation of your Avodat Hashem, but more specifically an integral part of your Yom Kippur responsibility.


If you are taking serious medication and/or are instructed by your physician to eat on Yom Kippur, don’t simply ignore his/her words.  Please ask a sh’ailoh and don’t assume.  Assumptions are often incorrect.


Rabbi Yaakov Sprung

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