Our Erev Yom Kippur Tradition: A Complete Blackout

Our Erev Yom Kippur Tradition: A Complete Blackout

Celebrating the Fall Feasts are one of the most exciting times of the year.

We love hosting Rosh Hashanah dinners with family and friends, and if you’ve ever been to our house to celebrate Sukkot together – then you know how all-out we go building our forest sukkah like a wild tribe of hobbits.

But when the world was shutdown during COVID and we were all celebrating in our homes, I asked my husband… how do we observe and teach our children about Yom Kippur? You can’t possibly make a child fast from food (also – please don’t ever ever do that). So how do we set apart this day as sacred if not gathering in community for a synagogue service?

We decided to do a complete and total black out on erev Yom Kippur.

No electronics.
No lights.
No screens.

And we lit candles instead. Everywhere we could (that was safely set up high from reaching toddler hands).

We went to our Family Altar in our living room and lit our menorahs. The entire room glowed.

We stepped back and took a deep breath as we watched 14 flames flickering bright.

Even my daughter felt the presence of God in the room. Not much else can stop a toddler in their tracks and recognize a holy moment when it’s happening.

I understand the importance of fasting on Yom Kippur. But that moment – it meant so much more to me than I can explain.

But by the time the next full moon came around ushering us into Sukkot, I ran out of candles to light! Where had they gone!

Fourteen shabbat candles filled both menorahs. That’s a lot of candles!

So I’m making this post for myself as a reminder during the month of Elul.

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May you be blessed during this high holy day season!

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