Yom Kippur attire

The Yom Kippur Attire:

Wearing clean clothing:[1] There is an obligation to honor Yom Kippur with clean and proper attire.[2] One may not place on himself sackcloth even if he is doing so for purposes of repentance.[3]

Wearing a white Kittel:[4] The custom is to wear a Kittel [over one’s clothing] on Yom Kippur.[5] [A Chasan who wore a Kittel at his wedding does not wear a Kittel on the first Yom Kippur thereafter.[6]] See Chapter 4 Halacha 2 for further details on the Kittel.

Should women wear a Kittel?[7] This is dependent on the reason behind the custom of wearing a Kittel.[8] [Practically, the custom amongst women is not to wear a Kittel.]

Shabbos tablecloths:[9] As a result of the above obligation to honor Yom Kippur with clean clothing, it is customary to place the Shabbos tablecloths over the table [in one’s house and] over the tables in Shul.

Coming to Mincha of Erev Yom Kippur in Shabbos clothes:[10] One should arrive at Shul for Mincha in his Shabbos attire.


May women wear jewelry and ornaments on Yom Kippur?[11]

On Yom Kippur, women are not to wear jewelry or ornaments that are normally worn on Shabbos or Yom Tov, in order so they show fear for the Day of Judgment. However, they may wear jewelry that is normally worn on a weekday.[12]


May clothing with gold threads be worn on Yom Kippur?[13]

One is not to wear clothing that contain gold threads on Yom Kippur.[14] This applies for both men and women.[15]

May gold jewelry be worn on Yom Kippur?[16]



[1] Admur 610/8

[2]  On every Shabbos and Holiday there is a command to honor the special day through eating a festive meal.  Being that on Yom Kippur we fast, therefore the Torah commanded us to [at least] honor it through wearing clean clothing and lighting candles. [Admur ibid]

[3] Admur 610/10

[4] Admur 610/9

[5] The reason: This is done in order to emulate angels which are white. Alternatively, it is done in order to remind ourselves of the clothing worn by a corpse, and we thus wear it in order to subjugate our hearts and arouse us to fully repent.  Based on the first reason mentioned, there are those who are accustomed to wear all white on Yom Kippur. [ibid]

[6] Sefer Haminhagim p. 124 [English Edition]; See Mahram Shick 28; Piskeiy Teshuvos 610/3

[7] Admur 610/9

[8] According to the reason mentioned that it is worn to emulate angels, the custom does not apply to women, being it is not possible for them to emulate angels. However, based on the reason that it is worn as a reminder of the garment of a corpse which causes one to repent, women may also wear a Kittel in order to arouse themselves to repent. [Admur ibid]

The gender of angels-Male versus female: In Kabala it states that there are angels who come from the level of Z”a and angels who come from the level of Malchus. Angels who come from Z”a have a masculine aspect, while angels who come from Malchus have a feminine aspect and are called daughters and Nukvin. [Torah Or Vayeira 15a based on Zohar Mishpatim p. 107] However, in the Midrash and Poskim it states that there are no female angels and all angels are male. This is learned from the verse “Ir Giborim Ala Chacham” which means that Moshe ascend to the city of angels, and these angels are called Gevarim, thus proving that there are no female angels. [Yalkut Simoni on Mishlei 21/22 brought in Machatzis Hashekel 610/5] Based on this it is ruled in Halacha that women are not to wear white clothing on Yom Kippur to emulate angels, as they cannot be like angels, as angels are only male. [Admur 610/9; M”A 610/5; Mateh Moshe brought in Machatzis Hashekel ibid]

[9] Admur 610/8

[10] Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 131/8

[11] M”B 610/16

[12] See Betzeil Hachochmah 6/3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 610/5

[13] Gloss of Rav Akiva Eiger 610; Mateh Efraim 610/11 and in Alef Lamateh 610/7; Teivas Guma Acharie [of Peri Megadim]; Piskeiy Teshuvos 610/5

[14] The reason: As the clothing are worn as a sign of Kapara and the gold reminds Hashem of the golden calf. [Rav Akiva Eiger ibid]

[15] Alef Lamateh ibid; Peri Megadim ibid unlike Rav Akiva Eiger ibid

[16] Betzeil Hachochmah 6/3; Kinyan Torah 6/36

[17] As the above matter is only with regards to gold threaded clothing, as the white clothing remind Hashem of atonement. However, regarding jewelry there is no reason to refrain.

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