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Pre-Fast Feasting

Pre-Fast Feasting

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The day before Yom Kippur is a yom tov, a festive day; for although we stand prepared to be judged in the supernal courtroom for our deeds of the passed year, we are confident that G‑d is a merciful judge, and will decree a year of life, health and prosperity for us.

It is a mitzvah to eat and drink in abundance, more than one is normally accustomed to, on the eve of Yom Kippur. The Talmud states that "Whoever eats and drinks on the 9th [of Tishrei], it is regarded as if he had fasted on both the 9th and the 10th."

Two meals are eaten, one in the morning or early afternoon, and one, the "separation meal," just prior to the onset of Yom Kippur. These meals are festive affairs, and we dip the challah in honey.

Throughout the day, one should eat only light foods that are easy to digest, such as fish and poultry. (In the final meal before the fast, we avoid eating fish too.)

In many communities it is customary to eat kreplach – small squares of rolled pasta dough filled with ground meat1 and folded into triangles – on the day before Yom Kippur. They can be boiled and served in soup (that's the traditional method) or fried and served as a side dish. The meat symbolizes severity, the dough is an allusion to kindness. In preparation for the Day of Judgment we "cover" the severity with kindness. (Click here for a recipe.)

Footnotes
1.
Some have the custom not to eat red meat before the fast, in which case ground chicken can be used.
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Jerome Vaillancourt Santa Fe October 10, 2016

Feasting before yom Kippur Where in the Torah is the mitzvah to "eat more than you normally would?" Reply

Rivka Freeman Brooklyn October 10, 2016

Kreplach Vegan Plant Based foods like Beans, Rice, Grains, Greens could be chopped up and stuffed into dough so your blood vessels will be more dilated for Yom Kippur. Reply

Gary Perl Staten Island September 22, 2015

I am eating!!! And drinking too. Am Yisrael Chai!!! Reply

WM. GOLDSTEIN LA September 22, 2015

"Eating and drinking in abundance" This phrase seems to encourage gluttony which, I am sure, is not the intent - especially with toxic obesity being one of the fastest growing diseases in the United States! Reply

Anonymous NY via chabadofnorthbrooklyn.com October 1, 2014

Stop drinking coffee or caffein Stop drinking coffee or caffein of any sort three days before Yom Kippur, you will save yourself the caffein Withdrawal Reply

Anonymous Tampa, Fl September 13, 2013

greeting What is the proper greeting for Jewish people on Yom Kippur? Reply

Patricia Loewy Newton September 26, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

G'mar khatima tovah. Not so much a greeting, but a wish that the other person will have a healthy peaceful and fulfilling year (the actual translation is something along "[have] a good final signature in the book of life"). Reply

Martha Clark Austin TX September 12, 2013

Times Thanks so much for the link! Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson via mychabad.org September 12, 2013

To Anonymous, Mission Exact times vary from city to city and town to town. To check out times for your location please go to this link. Reply

Anonymous bronx, ny September 12, 2013

Reb Zisha Boston, MA Hunger pangs at 4:20 - PRICELESS! Reply

Anonymous Mission September 12, 2013

Until what time we are allowed to eat before Yom Kippur begins? Reply

Jay Fulton September 26, 2012

the ninth and the tenth According to the current Hebrew calendar, the fast is on the tenth day following Rosh Chodesh. Yet this year a new moon was not seen until a day later. For some groups like Karaites, today is Tishri 9. Perhaps Lev 23 is prophetic in that Moses foresaw a time when there would not be sufficient scholars in Jerusalem to determine the date of the head of the year. In the times of the Temple before its destruction, there was more to proclaiming the new month than noting the first sighting of the crescent and announcing it to Jerusalem. There were Jews in other parts of Asia in which travel by horseback would take to long. Somewhere I read that announcing the new moon was done through strategically placed bonfires. Remember, there was no internet or even telegraph then. Reply

Reb Zisha Boston, MA September 24, 2012

Prepare like a marathoner! With all due respect to the author and centuries of Eastern European culinary tradition, it is much better to eat pre-fast as if one were running a marathon the next day. (We are praying a marathon, right?) What do marathoners eat? Carbs! Pasta, bread, etc., washed down with as much water as you can handle. I follow the advice of my teacher Rabbi Richard Israel z"l.

I don't mean to brag, but I have followed this method since I first heard it from Rabbi Israel 20 years ago, and I cruise through the fast pretty well, and I am a the cantor on top of it. Maybe a little hunger pang at 4:20 or so as a good reminder, but nothing debilitating.

May we all reach the finish line of Ne'ilah with clear hearts and clear souls, ready for a sweet New Year! G'mar tov le-kulam! Reply

Rabbi Menachem Posner October 7, 2011

To Bruce: The Talmud there is expounding the verse (Leviticus 23:32), "...you shall deny yourselves, in the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening..." The verse seems to imply that the fast should apply on the 9th as well, something that is not possible. Rather, through feasting on the 9th in preparation for the 10th it is as if we are fasting both days. Reply

Bruce Egert Hackensack, NJ October 5, 2011

preparation I am curious as to the rationale of stating--(s)he who eats festively on the 9th of Tishrei is as if (s)he has fasted both the 9th and 10th. It sounds as if there is a reasoning to avoid the Yom Kippur fast.

Chag Somaiach. Reply

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