Contact Us

Kol Nidre - Yom Kippur Eve

Kol Nidre - Yom Kippur Eve


The opening prayer of Yom Kippur is the Kol Nidre (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 Nidre, 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 Nidre 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.

© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.
Join the Discussion
Sort By:
1000 characters remaining Staff via September 21, 2015

To Anonymous Kol Nidrei is tomorrow (Tuesday September 22 2015) Reply

Anonymous Joe September 21, 2015

So. When is it ?? Reply

Mike October 3, 2014

Toda Raba and Kol ha kavod Chabbad you have taught, reminded, and instructed me so much on the importance of Jewish culture and rituals B-H. The organization you have created is of utmost importance. As yehudim it is our responsibility to kiddush- H. Have a Tov Yom Kippur everyone at

Mike Reply

Barry Kachanovsky Sao Paulo, Brazil 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 Reply

John Nocera Calhoun, LA 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. Reply

Ira Cohen Delray Beach, FL. September 25, 2012

Tallit at Kol Nidrei what is the law on wearing a Tallit for Kol Nidrei? Reply

Heart Sick NYC, USA 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. Reply

Mrs. Moriah Marks 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 Reply

prayerful 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. Reply

David Green Midlothian, VA 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. Reply

Anonymous Calgary, Ab. 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.

Radulovich 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. Reply

Linda Feingold Ft. Worth, TX August 21, 2007

Thank You This is a very insightful web site. It clearly explains Jewish traditions and Holy Days. Reply

Anonymous las vegas, nv/usa October 6, 2006

my commitment to God To my Jewish brothers and sisters I am a christian and I would love to learn more about the wonderful Tora. I promise to love God with all my heart . Reply

Lorraine UK October 2, 2006

Thank you blessed Jews. I am a practising born again Christian, and obviously am very very interested in studying the jewish faith and observations. Truly inspiring. :-)

shirley Deoliveira Fort Lauderdale, Florida September 27, 2006

thank you Thank You for bringin the most of the Jewish Hollidays special the Kids is
what we need the most for tem not to be lost in this crasy Wolrd. Reply

Anonymous dothan, al September 23, 2006

Yom Kippur I pray for your organization. This website is very good. Reply

Ralph Meyer Calgary, Ab.Canada October 13, 2005

Al Chet Prayer and related Wow! This was incredible to find the story and prayer on-line. You have made my Yom Kippur great. With the economics being the way they were, I have not been in synagogue for a few years and have browsed the web for service at home help.
This has definately helped. Thank you for this. Reply

Related Topics
Find Services
Audio Classes
Holiday Shopping Kids Zone
Free Greeting Cards