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Yom Kippur Blessings

Drawing of candles
For those looking for a quick, easy reference to guide them through the home rituals that lead into Yom Kippur, this resource is for you!
Our handy Yom Kippur Blessings, in an easy-to-print PDF format, includes the instructions for the custom of lighting the  yahrtzeit candles and then the holiday candles, in Hebrew and transliteration, with traditional and alternative translations as well. You can find more holiday information and blessings in our handy Yom Kippur cheat sheet.

Not sure how to pronounce the Hebrew? Read along, in transliteration or in Hebrew, and listen to the blessing:

When Yom Kippur starts on a Friday evening (Shabbat), say this version of the blessing over the candles:

Blessed are You, Infinite One, who has sanctified us with actions and honors us to light the Sabbath and holiday lights.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat v’ shel Yom Tov.

בְּרָוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵנוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל יוֹם טוֹב

When Yom Kippur starts on any other night of the week, we do not reference Shabbat in the blessing. This version of the blessing over the candles is said:

How Do We Celebrate Yom Kippur at Home?

two girls light candles

Before sundown, families and friends gather together and eat the last meal before the start of Yom Kippur and the period of fasting. It is only after the last bite is eaten, and the holiday candles are lit, that Yom Kippur and the fast officially begin. If you choose to fast, it is important to remember that children under the age of 13 are not required to fast nor are adults whose health precludes them from fasting.

Yom Kippur is a somber Jewish holiday of reflection and contemplation. We think of those who came before us and those who have influenced our lives and we take the time to remember family and/or friends who have died. You can light a special Yahrzeit candle (available in Judaica shops and online), if you choose.

Just like on Shabbat, two candles can be lit at the evening meal.

Many choose to spend Yom Kippur at a synagogue, but there are various ways to observe it. There might be alternative offerings in your community as well as learning opportunities leading up to the holiday, so make sure to do some searching (try your local Federation or JCC) or asking people in your community to see what your options are. Get creative and think about the themes of Yom Kippur, such as forgiveness, the possibility for change, the past and the future. You can meditate, spend time in nature, visit a space you find calming or visit with family and friends. It is so important to take time out of our busy lives to gain some perspective, think about ways to better yourself and resolve to make positive changes in the coming year. However you mark this important holiday, do it in a way that feels authentic and meaningful to you.


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Author: 18Doors