In the first meal of the morning before fast we eat fish דגים. Fish are always in water that is the aspect of Chassadim and mercy. The name has the letters יג and מד that implies for the 13 attributes of mercy. Sardines סר דינים has a special name that connects us to ‘removing judgments’.
The Holy Ari recommends eating double the portions that we usually eat during the day before the fast. It will reward us as if we fasted on the ninth and tenth of the month.
Meals should be done with the ‘Birkat Hamazon’ that is the full blessing of the food to prepare us for the spiritual meals of the next day.
The 5 restrictions we do on Yom Kippur:
1. Eating & Drinking – draws physical energy and locks us in the body consciousness. With the fast we avoid that.
2. Washing – disrupts the positive spiritual energy of Binah that comes on Yom Kippur. When at the level of Binah we don’t want to lower it to physical level by washing the body.
3. Leather – connects to death – avoiding any aspect of death. For that same reason we also avoid sleeping during the day.
4. Marital relations – draws only specific Light from Zeir Anpin, which is lower than the level of Binah that we enjoy on Yom Kippur.
5. Anointing one’s body – draws specific Light from Chokmah and conflicts with the Light of Yom Kippur.
When we disconnect from the ‘gravity’ of the material level, we can easily ascend to the spiritual level of Binah and enjoy the 5 spiritual meals of Yom Kippur. See link below to explanation on the 5 meals.
This principal should be used in everyday life. When we want to connect higher to spiritual energy we better lower the desires of the body.
The important three elements to connect to Life
“ותשובה ותפילה וצדקה מעבירין את רוע הגזרה”
“And repentance and prayer and charity (Tzedakah) avert the difficult decree”
Repentance – It’s the aspect of disconnecting the desire for the self alone and the gravity to the material world that is represented by the lower letter H ה of the YHVH name. With that we connect to the Letter Vav ו that represents Zeir Anpin and the Light, benefiting us with the flow of Light and spiritual sustenance.
Prayers – is the use of the sacred text to elevate our souls to higher level of Zeir Anpin and Binah to draw the Light.
Tzedakah – Giving Tzedaka should be a weekly action and it is especially important before Yom Kipur because it is said that Tzedakah will save from death. Pay debts. If you had plans to make donations do it because it is not good to keep open promises, even if they were made on a thought level. Return loaned items (books, umbrella, etc.) because we do not want to take advantage of people’s kindness. If you still use the item call its owner and ask for permission to return it later.
Remove all types of ‘Bread of Shame’. If you receive something without ‘earning’ it try to pay back. If you study from a teacher that channels Light to your life then give back so you’ll be able to receive more Light in the coming year.
If one gives 100% of his tithe to one organization/teacher and still studies with or benefits from another source without ‘paying’ then he accumulates bread of shame. It is best to split your tithe wisely to have a pure and complete vessel.
Make some phone calls and ask for forgiveness from people that you have or may have hurt in the past.
Make a confession to yourself on all the things you were ‘bad’ about and make a promise to correct and be ‘good’. Yom Kippur has cleansing power and if the ‘bad’ is out then it can be cleansed. The secret is in Numbers 14:20 “And YHVH said: ‘I have pardoned according to your word.”, meaning that if it was not ‘listed’ then it can’t be cleansed.
Mikveh for men is important on the day before Yom Kipur. It help cleanse ‘environmental’ impurities that may have attached to the person and ‘contaminated’ him.
Women should light candles.
Meditation on the water before the beginning of the fast
The Ari also taught us a ‘trick’ to balance the body energy and remove the thirst feeling during the fast.
Before the fast begins we drink a cup of water in 9 gulps with the following meditation.
Before the last glass of water and meditation I usually drink hot tea and brush my teeth, ‘washing’ the tongue from any food tastes as it may bother us later. That’s another aspect of clean vessel.
May you all have an easy fast and focus on the spiritual meals. They are our best opportunities to connect and be inscribed in the Book of Life.
Download Zohar Yom Kippur