KIPPUR’S EVE : What do we have to do today?

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EATING: In the eve of Yom Kippur we should eat and drink more than usual, in preparation for the fast. Eating plentifully will give us strength to endure the fast. According to some Rabbis the extra food makes-up for the festive (Yom Tob’s) meals which we will not have on Yom Kippur.  Before the fast begins, we have the se’uda hamafseqet, i.e., the last meal before the fast. We should finish eating by 6:55 p.m. NYT (some communities have different times). 
ASKING FORGIVENESS: Sins committed against another person are not forgiven on Yom Kippur until one first obtains forgiveness from the person he/she has hurt. Thus, it is necessary to visit (or at least call) friends, family, or any person whom one may have caused damage to, offended or spoken ill of in the past year and seek forgiveness. This includes friends, colleagues, spouse and other family members. Special attention should be given to asking forgiveness from our parents.
  
FORGIVING: Many people practice the beautiful custom of ‘forgiving’ everyone that has offended them, removing all bad feelings that might be stored in one’s heart. Parents should also forgive their children in their hearts, thus saving them from transgressing the commandment  of “ish immo veabiv tyra-u“.
TEFILA: We should prepare our Tefilot and especially the Viduy, confession . It is advisable to have a personal list of the particular activities or actions we want to confess and resolve to change.  
TSEDAQA: It is customary to give charity on the eve of Yom Kippur.  Practicing charity is one of the best ways to show our renewed commitment to kindness and righteousness.
MIKVEH: In many communities it is customary for men to immerse in a Mikveh (ritual bath) on the eve of Yom Kippur. This reminds us of the kohen gadol who would purify himself in the Mikveh before performing his Holy service (‘abodat Yom haKippurim).
MINHA GEDOLA: It is customary to pray early Minha (Minha gedola) on Ereb Yom Kippur. In some communities the custom is to pray this Minha with Talit and Tefilin. During the Amida we recite the Viduy.  Then we go home and prepare ourselves for the last meal before the fast (se’uda hamfseqet). 
ADDING TIME: We should abstain from the five prohibitions of Kippur and from doing any work forbidden in Yom kippur or Shabbat (melakha) 10 minutes or so before sunset (sunset in NYC is today 09/13  at 7:07 p.m.) thus, fulfilling the Mitsva of adding some time on the eve and from the aftermath of Kippur to Yom Kippur. For this reason we should also delay the end of Kippur for a few minutes after nightfall (nightfall in NYC is 35 minutes after sunset). 
  
CANDLE LIGHTING: There are different customs among Sephardic Jews regarding lighting candles on the eve of Yom Kippur.  Some Rabbis ruled that women should not light candles at all for Yom Kippur because there are no meals.  The shulhan ‘arukh validates the different Minhaguim but writes that when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat all women should light the candles and recite the Berakha: Barukh Ata….. lehadliq ner shel Shabbat veYom haKippurim. (In some communities women also recite the blessingsheheheyanu).  
Candle lighting today in NYC                   6:54 p.m.
Yom Kippur ends tomorrow in NYC at    7:47 p.m. 
May we all be inscribed and sealed in the Book of life, blessing and peace!