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 Holiday Central > Yom Kippur > Prohibitions
Yom Kippur - Prohibitions
By: Rivka C. Berman, Contributor
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Prohibitions on Yom Kippur

The concept of "You shall afflict your soul..." has been interpreted as spiritual suffering.

The rabbis listed five prohibitions falling within this domain:

  • Work (melachah), as with Shabbat
  • Eating and drinking
  • Washing (except direct cleansing of dirt) and anointing with creams, lotions, etc.
  • Wearing leather or leather covered shoes
  • Intimacy (marital relations).

Pikuach nefesh: As it pertains to all Jewish Mitzvot, all restrictions can and should be lifted whenever there is a threat to life or even to one’s health.

Fasting on Yom Kippur is a biblical commandment, however fasting is prohibited to children under the age of nine and women in childbirth (from the time labor begins until three days after birth). Older children and pregnant women may fast, however only if fasting will not imperil their health. People who depend on daily medications or are ill should consult a physician and a rabbi.

If a physician determines that one may not fast, it is incumbent upon the person to eat. If you are physically unable to fast due to pregnancy or illness, consult your rabbi for details and advice on how to honor the day. 

Mazor Guide for Yom Kippur brings you much more about the holiday, its meaning and its traditions... See the links below.

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