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Kol Nidrei - Yom Kippur Eve

Kol Nidrei - Yom Kippur Eve

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The opening prayer of Yom Kippur is the Kol Nidrei (or Kol Nidre) "annulment of vows" recited at sundown of Yom Kippur eve.

The Kol Nidrei service consists of the opening of the Ark and taking out the Torah scrolls, reciting the Kol Nidrei and returning the Torah scrolls to the Ark.

Kol Nidrei, the prayer which ushers in the holy day of Yom Kippur, is perhaps the most famous one in our liturgy. Ironically, it is not really a prayer at all, but rather a statement. A statement that deals with promises, vows and other sorts of verbal commitments commonly made in the course of the year. The Torah places strict demands on keeping one’s word, and not fulfilling a vow is considered a serious misdeed.

Kol Nidrei, which means "all vows", nullifies the binding nature of such promises in advance. One declares all future vows and promises invalid, by declaring that all vows are "absolved, remitted, cancelled, declared null and void, not in force of in effect."

On Yom Kippur when the essence of the soul is fully revealed, we express our real attitude towards the imperfections which might slip into our behavior, in the coming year. They are thus denied and declared insignificant.

The evening service which follows Kol Nidrei consists of the Half-Kaddish, the Shema, the Amidah, the Al Chet confession of sins, and special additional prayers (piyyutim) which are said only on the night of Yom Kippur.

Many have the custom to recite the entire Book of Psalms after the evening service.

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Discussion (15)
September 25, 2012
Children
Just read some topics with my two boys this evening. Yom Kippur has always been a somewhat difficult holiday for me, not only because of the sins that I have committed throughout the year but also because of my desire to fulfill the objective of this ritual in the best manner possible. The more I experience Yom Kippur, the more I realize how much there is to do. I am thankful to have found this site which I'm sure will help guide myself and my two sons to better fulfill the objective of this holy day
Barry Kachanovsky
Sao Paulo, Brazil
September 25, 2012
Yom Kippur
The holiest day of the year reinforces in all of us just how much we need G-d. As the Tanya teaches, He is the ONLY reality. May His name always be praised. May we live out in our lives daily, His commands.
John Nocera
Calhoun, LA
September 25, 2012
Tallit at Kol Nidrei
what is the law on wearing a Tallit for Kol Nidrei?
Ira Cohen
Delray Beach, FL.
October 6, 2011
The Kol Nidre Section of Maariv
Just another chance for Yom Kippur to fill me with despair and make me want to pull a Jonah. I hate kol nidre. A sense of personal responsibility to God is what keeps me connected when everything else frays and falls apart. But look! here is a way for the community to destroy that too. I don't see anything beautiful in it- attaching the tune to al chet would be more appropriate.

The High Holidays seem so backwards: the tones of YK and RH should be switched! 1st the fear, then a week to act, then a celebratory tone would be much more practical. Why leave the reading of Jonah to mere hours before Judgement? Why not read it the week before when you have a whole week to do something about the lack of connection. The current order seems so unconstructive.
Heart Sick
NYC, USA
September 16, 2010
the spiritual depths of yom kippur
as a person who has been studying for conversion for a few years i feel that thisholiday is what makes Judaism such a beautiful and holy religion. there is a serious soul searching and inward journey that we take which somehow makes us better...this is by no means an easy process....but nothing good EVER comes easy....and of course this work is sooooo important for spiritual growth
Mrs. Moriah Marks
October 7, 2008
grateful
Coming into this High Holiday time, I am humbled by the way my life has unfolded: plunging me into painful, yet purifying circumstances that have left me variously stunned, confused, lost and pained, to and excrutiating degree, both physically and emotionally. The culmination of it all unfolds in seeing clearly the connection of my misdeeds to my life as a whole. That is the "purification" aspect. The impact on myself and others of my own thoughts, words and behavior have come so clearly to me that I will never be the same. I can't imagine life before this clarity. Baruch Ha'Shem.
prayerful
September 15, 2008
Thank you
As a Christian gentile currently in seminary, learning the traditions given to you by G_d has been a blessing to me. May His blessings continue on Israel.
David Green
Midlothian, VA
September 22, 2007
This Site
I said in 2005, it was great. It still is as I visit it again Yom Kippur eve 2007. As my wife struggles with her demons, this month, I become strengthened reading the stories and prayers from this site.
Anonymous
Calgary, Ab.
September 21, 2007
Shtetl Fantasy
I mourn the fact there are no shtetls, villages or small towns for American Jews of today, due to the fact it takes large towns and dense population for the small percent who are Jews to support a congregation, a synogogue. Gone is the simple life. Instead there's crime, traffic, and hectic schedules. There is much to be said for separatism and little to be said for assimilation. And with this round of words, I'll finally get to my point, this site brings Judaism to the Jews who have escaped Sodom and Gemorrah into the small towns and villages across the US. The internet brings the message to those who have had the courage to abandon the quagmire of the cities. G_d bless and keep those messages coming! Shalom to all.
Radulovich
August 21, 2007
Thank You
This is a very insightful web site. It clearly explains Jewish traditions and Holy Days.
Linda Feingold
Ft. Worth, TX
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