West Wing Continuity Guide
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What is this about erev Yom Kippur?
Jay Todtman sent us the following links and information:
The day before Yom Kippur is considered to be a quasi-festival day. Traditionally, "all who eat on the ninth are considered to have fasted on the ninth AND the tenth." It is thus a mitzvah to eat and drink Erev Yom Kippur. This both gives us strength for the fast and substitutes for the usual Yom Tov meals, which cannot be eaten on Yom Kippur because of the fast.
  • It is customary to give increased charity http://www.ou.org/chagim/yomkippur/pidyonkaparot.htm on Erev Yom Kippur as charity helps to repeal any evil decrees. (See the Kaparot http://www.ou.org/chagim/yomkippur/ykcustoms.htm#kaparot> section below).
  • Sins committed against another person cannot be atoned for until one has first sought forgiveness from the person he/she has wronged. Even the great day of Yom Kippur or death cannot atone for sins against fellow man.
    Thus - it is customary to go visit (or at least call) friends, family, associates and any person whom one may have somehow wronged or spoken ill of in the past year and ask forgiveness.
    For example, any stolen objects must be returned to their rightful owners. Any person you have spoken Loshen Hara, evil gossip, about, should be asked for their forgiveness. . . .

Maya Bernstein adds: "The Jewish tradition is that if one has not already done so, one uses the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (10 days) to ask forgiveness of one's fellow human beings. Although what the President learned is correct, that Yom Kippur only atones for sins between people and God, and before the holiday one is supposed to work out atonement for sins between people, asking forgiveness of other people is not specific to the day before Yom Kippur, but can happen at any time, can start before Rosh Hashanah, is particularly the focus of attention during the preceding month of Ellul, and lasts all the way until the very end of Yom Kippur." She adds, "'Erev Yom Kippur' [is] correctly pronounced EH-rev, with the accent on the first syllable".
And Michelle Szpilzinger wrote the following at the forum at MightyBigTV.com (repeated here by permission):
"Rosh Hashanah starts the 10 days of repentance which culminate on Yom Kippur. (Rosh Hashanah being the first day of the month, Yom Kippur being the tenth.) During those 10 days one is obligated to make amends with all those one has wronged, and to forgive all those who ask for it (and preferably those who don't too.) The day before Yom Kippur *is* called Erev Yom Kippur (erev just means eve, like Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas), and the sentimentality is right. You must ask forgiveness from people before you can think to ask it of G-d. It's just that it's the whole 10 days (and really all the time, but these days are set aside specifically to give people a kick in the butt) and not just the day before."

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