Yom Kippur Blessings: For starting observance of the day

a round challah

It is a mitzvah (commandment) to eat a large meal, called a seudat mafseket (a concluding meal), before Yom Kippur begins. This meal is customarily completed before sundown. Because it is a festive meal, many people choose to include bread, and begin with haMotzi, the blessing over the challah.

Uncover the challah and say:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, hamotzi lechem min haaretz.

We praise You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Cut or break off pieces of challah for each family member to eat.

Even when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat, we follow these customs. However, because we eat the meal before sundown, it’s not yet Shabbat and so we light the candles after the meal. When the meal is over and the sun begins to set, we begin the holiday, Shabbat, and our fast by lighting and blessing candles.

After the meal, light the candles and say:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam asher kid'shanu
b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik neir shel [shabbat v']yom hakippurim.

We praise you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who hallows us with mitzvot, and commands us to kindle the light of [Shabbat and] Yom Kippur.

We do not include Kiddush (the blessing over the wine) because once the candles have been lit and blessed, we are fasting. 

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