Teshuvah and Kapparah in Tefillah Zakkah, By Rabbi Jeremy Wieder

Tefillah Zakkah, the prayer recited by many before Kol Nidrei, is comprised of three parts.  The first section consists of a confession of a myriad of sins committed through the agency of the various body parts a person possesses.  The final, and overwhelmingly largest, section consists of a plea for mercy and forgiveness, while acknowledging that by right we should have to suffer much to atone for our sins; we cast ourselves at God’s mercy because that suffering would be overwhelming.  In between is a short paragraph in which we state that we have likely have harmed others and repentance for those sins cannot lead to atonement until we have appeased the victims of our actions.  Thus, we hereby forgive all others for (virtually) all that they have done to us and ask God to cause us to be viewed favorably in the eyes of others so that they will grant us the same forgiveness for any harm that we have done them.

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Why Eat On Erev Yom Kippur? By Devir Kahan

 

A particularly strange halacha exists that requires us to eat on Erev Yom Kippur. Most laws pertaining to the actual day of Yom Kippur might be difficult to do, but at least they make almost immediate sense. We understand these laws, and we can relate to them. Knowing full well what the day of Yom Kippur is we would expect to pray, meditate, spend time doing serious introspection. We would additionally expect to fast, even, and to take out the sifrei Torah and hold them close.

To have a law, though, that specifically mandates eating before all of this begins is strange to say the least, and is seemingly quite difficult to relate to. To make things even stranger, we are told by Chazal that if we do, indeed, eat on the day preceding Yom Kippur it is as if we fasted on both that day and on Yom Kippur itself! How does this make any sense at all? It is quite literally the very opposite of the reality.

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