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This question will collect Q&As, formatted for the book, for Days of Awe - Mi Yodeya?. We're breaking this up into five posts for easier management. This question collects material about halacha and practical how-tos of the holidays.

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Kiddush on Yom Kippur

SimchasTorah asked:1 If I must eat on Yom Kippur is there an obligation to make kiddush, either for the evening or for the daytime? If there is not, is there a situation where you do?


Matt responded: The question of kiddush on Yom Kippur is discussed first in the Gemara on Eiruvin.

The Shibolei Haleket (312) writes that because one does not normally eat on Yom Kippur, the Sages never required mention of the holiday in kiddush or even bentching after a meal. In fact, making kiddush would be improper because one might see kiddush being made and think that it should be done every year. The Shulchan Aruch (618:10), however, writes that mention of Yom Kippur should be made in bentching (by saying Yaaleh Veyavo) because one would be bentching anyway and the same paragraph is said in the prayer. The Magen Avraham, Chayei Adam, and Mishnah Berurah (618:29) all agree that one should not make kiddush on Yom Kippur if one is fasting.

There is a famous story2 about Rav Yisrael Salanter who, on a Yom Kippur during a cholera epidemic, made sure to eat in the synagogue in public in order so that everyone should know that eating that day was the right thing to do. Rav Baruch Epstein, in Mekor Baruch II chapter 11, records that Rav Salanter even made kiddush in shul. However, the linked article casts doubt on the story, and I've personally heard from Rav Asher Weiss that even if R. Yisrael Salanter did eat in public, he doesn't believe that he would have made kiddush on Yom Kippur against the ruling of the Magen Avraham.

The more interesting instance is when Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbos: even if there's no institution of kiddush for Yom Kipuur, there is for Shabbos, and perhaps one would be obligated to do so, especially considering that many hold that kiddush on Shabbos is Biblically mandated. Thus, Rabbi Akivah Eiger (in his comments to the Magen Avraham, O.C. 618:10) seems to suggest (it's unclear to me whether he would say so in practice) that if one must eat on a Yom Kippur that falls out on Shabbos, he should indeed make kiddush.

Gershon Gold added: I recall hearing that children (who are permitted to eat) should not make kiddush on Yom Kippur as there is no mitzva of education to teach them to make kiddush for Yom Kippur.


  1. Original question: mi.yodeya.com/q/5784
  2. The Rabbi Who Ate on Yom Kippur: Israel Salanter and the Cholera Epidemic of 1848 by Ira Taub [download.yutorah.org/2011/1053/756192.pdf]

Contributors:
Gershon Gold mi.yodeya.com/u/200
Matt mi.yodeya.com/u/5083
SimchasTorah mi.yodeya.com/u/87

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  • SECOND-PARTY EDIT COMPLETE – Scimonster Jul 16 '15 at 20:14
2

Why are we forbidden to wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur?

user1928764 asked:1 Why are we forbidden to wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur? Is it because leather shoes are a sign of wealth or comfort, or does it have something to do with cruelty to animals?


LazerA responded: The Talmud (Yoma 73b) lists the five obligatory "afflictions" (i.e. forbidden pleasures) of Yom Kippur:

  1. Eating and drinking
  2. Bathing
  3. Anointing
  4. Wearing shoes
  5. Marital relations

Maimonides, in his commentary on the Mishna, summarizes the Talmudic discussion, saying:

The Torah does not explicitly state the requirement to abstain from these things on the fast of Yom Kippur, but it uses the language of affliction (עינוי) five times... and tradition tells us that this is to prohibit these five forms of physical pleasure... for in Scripture we find that [refraining from] each of these five things is described as affliction....

With regard to the specific prohibition against wearing shoes, while there is some debate on the topic (see Minchas Chinuch 313:14), the dominant opinion is that "shoes" means specifically leather shoes (כל מנעל שאינו של עור לא מיקרי מנעל, see Beis Yosef OC 614), and therefore the prohibition applies only to leather shoes.

For the most part, in virtually all older sources, the discussion ends here, as there was apparently no perceived need to provide a special explanation for the inclusion of wearing shoes (leather or not) among the required afflictions of Yom Kippur.

Among later sources, however, we do find some additional insights on this topic. Perhaps the most basic explanation is that given by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in Horeb (in his discussion of the laws of mourning (314:2), which he refers us to in his discussion of the laws of Yom Kippur (158)):

In the view of our Sages, the wearing of shoes on our feet betokens equipment for self-supporting activity. Thus, taking off one's shoes on holy ground is ordered several times in the Tenach as a sign of surrendering all one's self and of a complete submission to what is holy.

Unfortunately, R' Hirsch does not provide a source for this insight. However, the basic idea, that shoes symbolize the human capacity for self-sufficient action, can be found in several earlier sources (such as the Abudarham's commentary on the blessing, "שעשה לי כל צרכי").

Like R' Hirsch, a number of other commentaries associate the prohibition against wearing shoes on Yom Kippur with the prohibition against wearing shoes in the Temple, arguing that on Yom Kippur the entire earth is sanctified akin to the Temple and we are therefore required to walk barefoot. (R' Moshe Chagiz, cited in, among other places, R' A. Y. Sperling's Ta'amei Haminhagim, and R' Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, cited in Agnon's Yomim Noraim and in Artscroll's Yom Kippur.)

The Arizal (in Shulchan Aruch HaAri, cited in Taamei Haminhagim) gives an esoteric kabbalistic explanation for why specifically leather shoes are forbidden. The basic point he makes is that leather shoes are associated with the "garments of skin" that God gave Adam and Eve after they sinned (Genesis 3:21) (which, according to medrash, were made from the shed skin of the serpent). Leather shoes therefore symbolize sin and impurity, which have no power on Yom Kippur. Thus, we are required to remove these shoes.

Finally, in a work titled Siddur HaMinhagim written by Rabbi Shlomo Tzvi Shik in the late 1800s, Rabbi Shik gives two original explanations for the prohibition against leather shoes.

The first, based upon a concept found in the commentary of the Shelah Hakadosh on the blessing "שעשה לי כל צרכי", is that leather shoes symbolize man's dominion over all of creation. However, R' Shik argues, a sinner has no such claim of dominion. Thus, on Yom Kippur, when we engage in repentance and confess our sins, we remove our leather shoes to demonstrate our recognition of our sinfulness.

R' Shik's second explanation is based on a custom that when a person would wear a new garment, people would bless him that "You should wear it out and get a new one." However, some write that one should not say this with regard to a leather garment, as this would require killing an animal and Scripture (Psalms 145:9) states, "His mercy is upon all His creations." Similarly, when slaughtering an animal for the first time, while one does recite the blessings of Shehecheyanu on the mitzva of kisui hadam (covering the blood, assuming it is required, as with a bird), one does not recite Shehecheyanu over the actual slaughtering because, according to some, it involves harming a living creature. Similarly, R' Shik argues, being that Yom Kippur is a day of Divine mercy, it is improper to wear leather shoes.

This latter explanation (which, despite its rather obscure origin, has gained remarkable popularity, mainly because of its inclusion in Agnon's Yomim Noraim (and in the very popular, and heavily abridged, translation, Days of Awe), and, in turn, in many other such collections (including Artscroll's Yom Kippur)) is actually rather difficult in that it would imply that all leather garments should be avoided on Yom Kippur, and there is no such practice — although Agnon does cite the Leket Yosher as indicating that the Terumas HaDeshen, R' Yisrael Isserlein, preferred to avoid wearing any leather garments on Yom Kippur.


  1. Original question: mi.yodeya.com/q/30895

Contributors:
LazerA mi.yodeya.com/u/1216
user1928764 mi.yodeya.com/u/3208

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  • SECOND-PARTY EDIT COMPLETE. – Monica Cellio Jul 17 '15 at 20:55
2

Additions to bentching on Yom Kippur

aaron asked:1 If one must eat on Yom Kippur (such as for medical reasons), does he make any day-specific additions (such as Ya'aleh V'yavoh) during the grace after meals?


Alex said: Taz (Orach Chaim 618:10) and Magen Avraham (618:10) cite variant opinions as to whether Yaaleh Veyavo needs to be recited (and also Retzeh, if Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos). According to the Taz neither one should be said, while according to Magen Avraham it is better to add them.

Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 618:10) adds that in any case, if one did omit them, he should not recite the makeup berachah "Asher nasan...," since it might be a blessing in vain.

Chanoch provided the text: Rav David Yosef (the son of Rav Ovadia Yosef) rules (Otzerot Yossef 14:19) that one should add Ya'aleh v'Yavo, and identify the holiday as ביום הכיפורים הזה, ביום סליחת העון הזה.


  1. Original question: Benching on yom kipper mi.yodeya.com/q/909

Contributors:
aaron N/A
Alex mi.yodeya.com/u/37
Chanoch mi.yodeya.com/u/69

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  • SECOND-PARTY EDIT COMPLETE. – Monica Cellio Jul 20 '15 at 1:57
2

Drinking on Rosh Hashanah

Seth J asked:1 Rosh Hashanah has two opposite aspects, one of judgment, and one of Yom Tov. We spend the day(s) in prayer and literally plead for our lives. Yet we eat festive meals and drink wine for kiddush.

Is it acceptable, or even encouraged, to drink festively on Rosh Hashanah?


Michoel said: The Shulchan Aruch Harav writes (597:1), based on Rishonim and the Tur/Shulchan Aruch:

ומצוה לאכול ולשתות ולשמוח בראש השנה כמ"ש בסי' תקפ"א אמנם לא יאכלו כל שבעם למען לא יקילו ראשם ותהיה יראת ה' על פניהם

It is a mitzvah to eat and drink and rejoice on Rosh Hashanah, as is explained in siman 581. However one should not eat to full satisfaction so as not to come to lightheadedness, and the fear of Hashem should be on their faces.

Similarly in 583:4 he writes:

ונוהגין לאכול בשר שמן ולשתות דבש וכל מיני מתיקה כדי שתהא השנה הזאת מתוקה ושמינה וכן כתוב בעזרא [נחמיה] אכלו משמנים ושתו ממתקים

We customarily eat fatty meat and drink honey and all types of delicacies in order that the coming year should be sweet and fatty, as is written in Ezra [Nechemyah]: "Eat of the fat and drink of the sweet [...for this day is holy to Hashem]".

Fred added: Although the Beit Yosef (OC 597) quotes the Kol Bo that some have the custom of fasting on Rosh Hashanah, most rishonim hold that fasting is inappropriate and that one should eat, drink, and rejoice on Rosh Hashanah, and the Shulchan Aruch rules accordingly (with the caveat that the rejoicing should be tempered by reverence for the day). This accords with the verse quoted in Michoel's answer (Nechemyah, 8:10).

Because of those opinions that fasting is appropriate, the Shulchan Aruch writes (based on the Agur) that if someone fasts once, it is considered that he has accepted that practice and he must subsequently fast on every Rosh Hashanah. The Rema writes that he should get the custom annulled instead. Notably, R' Yosef Karo in Maggid Meisharim praises the custom of fasting on the first day of Rosh HaShanah (siman 40). I have heard (in the name of R' Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, I believe) that this encouragement to fast was relegated to the Maggid Meisharim because R' Karo felt that fasting is only an appropriate approach for rare individuals.


  1. Original question: mi.yodeya.com/q/20162

Contributors:
Fred mi.yodeya.com/u/1442
Michoel mi.yodeya.com/u/1535
Seth J mi.yodeya.com/u/5

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  • SECOND-PARTY EDIT COMPLETE – Scimonster Jul 21 '15 at 22:12
2

What is the shiur for anointing on Yom Kippur?

not-allowed to change my name wondered:1 One of the 5 forbidden pleasures on Yom Kippur is anointing. Is there a minimum shiur (measure) to be chayav (liable) for anointing on Yom Kippur, and, if so, what is it? The gemarah (Yoma 76b) seems to learn it out as a comparison to food consumption: would that mean it has the same shiurim?


Fred explained: The Mazal Sha'ah on the Rambam infers that the shi'ur l'chayyev for anointing with t'rumah oil is a k'zayis (an olive's bulk), based on R' Yehudah's opinion in the gemara (K'risus 6b) who holds that a person is liable for a k'zayis of prohibited anointing with the shemen hamishchah (Temple anointing oil) (Commentary to Mishneh Torah, Hil. T'rumos 10:2). (One should note that it is still Biblically forbidden to anoint with even less than a k'zayis, at least in the case of the shemen hamishchah).

Although in those cases the oil itself is a prohibited substance, one might consider further extrapolating the above standard to the prohibition against anointing on Yom Kippur. However, disagreement among the Rishonim about the Biblical or rabbinic status of the anointing prohibition on Yom Kippur suggests that there must at least be no Biblical penalty for anointing. Rashi and the Rambam both maintain that the punishment for violation is makas mardus (rabbinic lashes) (Rashi on the Rif, Shabbos, Chapter 9; Rambam's Peirush HaMishnayos, Shabbos 9:4, and Tosafos Yom Tov, ibid., who clarifies the Rambam's position). The lack of a Biblical penalty is confirmed by the Yerushalmi (Yoma 8:1; see also Korban HaEidah ibid., s.v. Aval lo l'onesh). Therefore, the issue of a liable quantity seems moot.

Furthermore, a lengthy halachic discussion by Dayan Y.Y. Fisher (Even Yisrael, Hil. Ma'achalos Asuros 17:27) yields the conclusion that, according to those Rishonim who view anointing as Biblically forbidden, the Biblical prohibition against consuming less than a shiur of nourishment on Yom Kippur may be derived from the prohibition against anointing (which is itself derived from Daniel, 10:3,12). This seems to be premised on the lack of a minimum shi'ur for anointing on Yom Kippur.

Notably, the Semag distinguishes between Biblically and rabbinically prohibited anointing, though not in terms of the quantity of ointment used. He maintains that a criterion for the Biblical prohibition against anointing on Yom Kippur is anointing the entire body, while anointing even part of the body is forbidden rabbinically (Tosafos Y'shanim, Yoma 77b). This view is echoed by the Mabit (Kiryas Sefer, Hil. Sh'visas Asor, 3).


  1. Original question: mi.yodeya.com/q/20348

Contributors:
not-allowed to change my name mi.yodeya.com/u/1561
Fred mi.yodeya.com/u/1442

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  • SECOND-PARTY EDIT COMPLETE. – Monica Cellio Jul 22 '15 at 1:34
2

Wedding Rings on Yom Kippur?

JLR asked:1 Before getting married I would remove all of my jewelry on Yom Kippur, but I'm not sure about my platinum wedding band (which conforms to halakha). Should I wear the wedding band but remove the ring my husband gave me as a gift, and which has stones in it? Or should I remove both?


sam said: The Mishna Brurah 610:16 writes that women also have the custom to wear clean white clothes but not to wear jewelry that they wear for Shabbas and Yom Tov for the greatness (fear) of the Day of Judgment.

The Piskei Tshuvos brings Hagahos Rabbi Akiva Eiger, who writes that some places don't wear gold because of the golden calf, but women did not participate in the sin of the calf. In Teivas Guma (a work by the Pri Megadim) we see that since women receive support from their husbands we have the custom that no one wears gold. Also, the Matteh Ephraim holds that the congregation is one as a whole.

However that was in reference to a special type of clothing (white with gold around) but nowadays we don't have such clothing. Jewelry would be OK as long as it is not worn specially for Shabbas and Yom Tov. See the footnotes in Piskei Tshuvos for many sources.

Fred added: In addition to the Mishna B'rura (cited in Sam's answer and based on the Matei Efrayim 610:9) that says "they should not adorn themselves with the jewelry that they wear on Shabbos and Yom Tov, due to the dread of the Day of Judgment," Rabbi Betzalel Stern (שו"ת בצל החכמה חלק ו סימן ג) explicitly says that a person may wear jewelry (such as a nice watch) on Yom Kippur if the person wears that jewelry throughout the week, as well.

As far as simple platinum rings, the metal usually does not contain any gold, so that should certainly not present the problem of wearing gold on Yom Kippur.

Remember to please consult your local rabbi for a practical ruling, and/or ask other local women regarding the practice in your community.


  1. Original question: mi.yodeya.com/q/31098

Contributors:
Fred mi.yodeya.com/u/1442
JLR mi.yodeya.com/u/3253
sam mi.yodeya.com/u/1418

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  • Anyone know what book "Teivis Guma (Pri Megadim)" is? – Scimonster Jul 12 '15 at 19:53
  • 1
    תיבת גומא is a work organized by Parsha (written by the same author as the PMG on ShA) which deals with Halachic topics alluded to in the Parsha. – Double AA Jul 13 '15 at 14:12
  • SECOND-PARTY EDIT COMPLETE. – Monica Cellio Jul 22 '15 at 19:54

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