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    What foods should one eat at the seuda ha’mafsekes (last meal) on erev Yom Kippur?

    Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 608:4) writes that on erev Yom Kippur, one should eat light foods that are easily digestible, so one will be able to daven on Yom Kippur with proper concentration. There is a common custom to dip challah in honey. Mishnah Berurah (608:16-18) writes that one should not overeat. It is proper to serve chicken, but red meat, and especially fatty meat, should be avoided. Wine and other intoxicating beverages should not be served. One should avoid foods that are overly spicy or vinegary. Sesame should be avoided, since it can cause reflux. Based on the Tur (Orach Chaim 604), some have a minhag to eat fish on erev Yom Kippur. However Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (131:12) writes that it should not be served at the seuda ha’mafsekes, but rather should be eaten earlier in the day.

    My children will be eating sandwiches on Yom Kippur. How should they wash netilas yadayim?

    Although regarding washing in the morning, Shulchan Aruch writes that one should only wash until the knuckles, poskim point out that if one must eat bread on Yom Kippur, one should wash the entire hand including the palm, the same way that they would the rest of the year (Levushei Mordechai quoted by Shevet HaLevi 8:139 and many other poskim). In this regard, washing for bread is like the requirement of Kohanim to wash before reciting Birkas Kohanim. The Mishnah Berurah (613:7) writes that Kohanim on Yom Kippur must wash their entire hand before Birkas Kohanim. In all these cases, there is no violation of washing hands, since the intent is not for enjoyment.

    Lehoros Nosson (2:42) explains the difference between washing for bread and washing in the morning. Although in both cases throughout the year, lechatchila (in the first instance) one should wash the entire hand and bedi’eved (after the fact), it is enough if one washed up until and including the knuckles, there is still an important difference between them. Regarding washing for bread, many Rishonim hold that that this is an absolute requirement, and although we are lenient if it was not done, Shulchan Aruch (OC 161:4) writes that one should be careful to wash the entire hand. However, Shulchan Aruch makes no mention of washing the entire hand to remove ru’ach ra’ah. This was only introduced by later poskim, such as the Magen Avrohom (4:7). Therefore, on Yom Kippur we do not follow this added stringency, since at the same time it would be a leniency to wash beyond the knuckles.

    May a person who is ill eat or drink on Yom Kippur?

    If a person is a choleh sheyesh bo sakanah (suffering from a life-threatening illness), it is forbidden to fast. Rather, it is a mitzvah for such an individual to eat on Yom Kippur. Nonetheless, halacha stipulates that when possible, the breaking of the fast should be minimized by eating or drinking less than the shiur (amount) for which a healthy individual would be liable for the Divine punishment of kares. In practice, when feasible, one who is ill should eat less than the volume of a large date and drink less than a cheek full. Both of these volumes are somewhere between 1 to 1 ¼ fluid ounces.

    The Shulchan Aruch states that when a time span of kedai achilas pas has elapsed, the same amounts can be eaten and drunk again. There are a wide range of opinions for the length of this time span, ranging from 2-9 minutes. It is recommended that the reader consult their local rabbi.

    If these amounts do not alleviate the life-threatening situation, the person who is ill may eat and drink in a normal manner. Once the danger to one’s health has passed, continued eating and drinking should be limited to the shiur described above. (Shulchan Aruch 618-7 and 8 and Beur Halacha s.v. ve’im)