* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])
Monday was the day before Rosh Chodesh Kislev. Throughout the Jewish world, the day before every Rosh Chodesh — known as Yom Kippur Katan — includes special prayers and, for those who are especially pious, fasting as well.
Yom Kippur Katan (Minor Yom Kippur) originated in 16th century Tzfat among the community of Kabbalists who flourished there. The repentance and fasting on this day, according to the Shelah HaKaddosh, who lived during that period, was “in order to enter the new month as pure as a newborn infant.”
Upon opening a prayer book that included the Yom Kippur Katan service, words from its prayers jumped out at me. They paralleled Yom Kippur prayers in a most exact way with the recitation of the thirteen attributes of mercy, confession, and the same liturgical poems, psalms, and acknowledgement that Hashem alone is God.
Yes, there are those who recite all the additional prayers set aside for this day and fast as well, but there are many who do not know anything about this day’s significance. Still, each of us can add a little to our prayers with a resolution for self-improvement and thus insert into this day a little bit of Yom Kippur.
And then on Tuesday, the month of Kislev arrives with all the joy it brings. May it be God’s will that this month is filled with heroic deeds and miraculous light, just as in bygone days.