Drasha for Yom Kippur

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    The Rema in Hilchos Yom Hakippurim (610:4) writes that there is a very old minhag to light a candle on behalf of each man or boy in the family on Erev Yom Kippur. This is aside from the Yahrzeit candles which are lit. Though I don’t know if anyone still follows this practice today, it is easy to understand why there would be such a minhag. After all, the pasuk in Mishlei says “ner Elokim nishmas adam….” (“the candle of God is the soul of man”) and having a candle to remind one to focus on HKB”H and one’s soul makes perfect sense.

    Then the Rema continues with some very puzzling words. “V’im kavu nairos eilu, ein lomar l’aino yehudi she’yachzor v’yadlikaym”….”and if these candles should be extinguished during the day, one should not ask a non-Jew to relight them”. Why in the world would I think that it is permissible to have a non-Jew do a melachah for me on Yom Kippur for something that is merely a minhag?

    The Rema continues….”Mi shekava neiro b’Yom Kippur yachzor v’yadlikenu b’motza’ei Yom Kippur, v’al yechabenu od, elah yanechenu lidloke ad ge’mirah” “One whose candle has been extingusihed on Yom Kippur, shoud relight it after Yom Kippur ends, and he should not extinguish it but rather let it burn out by itself”. Very strange. If his candle burnt out, why is it necessary to relight it after Yom Kippur ends? And if he does take the trouble to relight it, why would I think for a moment that he would then extinguish it? That would make no sense at all!

    Further, “V’gam yikabel alov shekol yomov lo yechabeh b’motza’ei Yom Kippur nero, lo hu v’lo ah’cheir”. “And he should accept upon himself that for the rest of his life he will never extinguish this type of candle, not him nor anyone else”. What is the Rema trying to tell us here? Why should this person be required (as if to make up for something he did wrong) all his life never to extinguish this candle, not him nor anyone else. Again, the same question (as above) begs: Why would I think that if this person lights such a candle, he would extinguish it after Yom Kippur? And why was the Rema so adamant that neither he nor anyone else should do so?

    Rav Avigdor Amiel, who was the Rav Harashi of Tel Aviv in the 1930s and a terrific darshan said the following:

    In this morning’s kriah, we read about the avodah of Yom Kippur that the Kohen must do every year. In addition, the Torah tells us that Yom Kippur must be observed by every one of us. “V’huysah lochem le’chukas olam, bachodesh hashivi’i be’asahr lachodesh t’anu es nafshosaychem…” “This shall remain for you an eternal decree; In the seventh month on the tenth of the month, you shall afflict yourselves….”

    A few pisukim later it states “V’huysah lachem l’chukas olam……achas bashanah” “This shall be to you an eternal decree……once a year” The question is, what is the Torah adding with “achas bashanah”…”once a year”? The Torah has already explicitly stated that Yom Kippur is to be observed on the tenth on Tishrei. Why the need for these two extra words “once a year”? We know the Torah does not contain even one single extra letter. What is being added here?

    Rav Amiel suggested that, true, the observance of the actual day of Yom Kippur is achas. It only happens only once per year. But the KEY word here is “bashana….during the year”. In other words, though we only observe one day (on the tenth of Tishrei) as a day of affliction and teshuva, that one day MUST BE CARRIED OVER AND INTO THE ENTIRE YEAR !!! Yom Kippur starts on the tenth of Tishrei, but continues all year!

    When we sit down with friends on Jan 17th, and we are about to speak loshon harah. we must remember that we are CARRYING YOM KIPPUR AROUND WITH US ALL YEAR and refrain from doing the aveirah, just as we promised to do on Yom Kippur itself.

    When we come into shul for Kol Nidrei, we are all fired up and very motivated to do teshuva. And for most, this motivation lasts through the entire next day. But for some, by the afternoon of Yom Kippur, they are already burnt out. Their flame has already been extinguished. Therefore, says the Rema, this type of person must RELIGHT his candle after Yom Kippur and accept upon himself every year never to extinguish this flame on Motza’ei Yom Kippur. Because even though the observance of Yom Kippur has ended, the EFFECT of Yom Kippur begins AFTER Yom Kippur ends and must be carried around all year and not be extinguished!!!!


    Wow thanks so much, that was beautiful. Happy and healthy. And may you be zoche lilmod ule’lameid all your life.


    the custom today is to light a Ner Briah for every married male living in the home, in addition to Yahrtzeit candles.

    some also leave a candle in the bedroom to remind the married couple of what is forbidden.

    some also light a further long lasting candle to be sure to have an “old” fire for Havdalah



    Thank You kindly! G’mar chasima tova and all the best to you as well!

    Mod 80-

    I have never seen this minhag in my circles, but thank you for letting me know it is out there. I don’t want to get up there (in my minyan) and say it doesn’t exist today.

    The fire for Havdalah is not a minhag…it is halacha in S”A that you need a “ner she’shavas” on Motza’ei Yom Kippur. This year, being Motza’ei Shabbos, one should still use a ner she’shavas but bi’di’eved a regular flame is okay.

    G’mar chasima tova to you as well!


    wow beautiful and very very inspiring! i appreciate it very much! gmar chasima tova to you and everyone in the coffee room!



    Thank you kindly and g’mar chasima tova to you as well!

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