When Yom Kippur Falls on Shabbat

by Binyamin Adilman

(Based on Noam Elimelech and Noam Megadim)

"Moshe assembled the entire community of Israel and said to them, "These are the words that G-d has commanded for you to do. You may engage in work during the first six days f the week, but Saturday must be kept holy as a Sabbath of Sabbaths to Hashem."" (Exodus 35:1-2)

"This shall be an eternal law for you. Every year on the 10th day of the 7th month, you must fast and not do any work, whether it be the native citizen or the proselyte. This is because on this day all of your sins will be atoned for, so that you will be cleansed. Before Hashem, you will be cleansed of all your sins. It is a Sabbath of Sabbaths to you, and a day on which you must fast. It is an eternal law." (Lev. 16:29-31)

We know that the Torah has a concept called Shabbos. From these two verses, we can see that both the Shabbos and Yom Kippur are called Sabbath of Sabbaths (Shabbos Shabboson), the ultimate expression of Sabbath. When the two come together the stakes are bound to be high.

The Gemarra (Tractate Shabbos 118b), states, "If only Yisrael would keep two (consecutive?) Sabbaths, they would be immediately redeemed."

The Sefer Noam Megadim (Parshas Emor), from R' Eliezer Ish Horowitz, a disciple of R' Elimelech of Lizhensk, offers a compelling interpretation of the passage in the Gemarra. He say that two Sabbaths refer to two Sabbaths which comes together. That can only be when Yom Kippur falls out on Shabbos. Therefore the possibility for immediate redemption of our people is at hand. We only need to observe them, putting ourselves into the service of the day with a full heart and keep from becoming distracted.

Actually the possibility for speedy redemption is inherent in every Yom Kippur. The Holy Zohar (Parshas Noach) states that even if the people in only one Beit Knesset (Shul) did complete Teshuva on Yom Kippur, then all of Yisrael would be immediately redeemed!
All the more so then on this special year when the two ultimate Sabbaths come together at the same time. Indeed a special opportunity!!

Eating and Fasting

". . .and you shall afflict your souls in the 9th day of the month in the evening . . ." (Vayikra 23:32)

The Talmud, Tr. Brachos 8b, asks what does it mean to fast on the 9th day? Don't we fast on Yom Kippur itself, on the 10th of the month? The Talmud answers that if one eats and drinks on the 9th day of Tishrei, the eve of the awesome day of Yom Kippur, and then fasts on Yom Kippur, it is regarded as if he afflicted (fasted) himself on both the 9th and the 10th days.

Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk, the Noam Elimelech, asked why eating on the 9th of Tishrei should be regarded as fasting? He answered his own question saying, "If on the eve of Yom Kippur, one were to contemplate the awesome and holy character of the approaching day, how his repentance is hanging in the balance, he certainly would not be able to put a bite of food in his mouth. Therefore, observing the mitzvah to eat on the 9th day is indeed a hardship and an affliction."


(First published in B'Ohel Hatzadikim, Yom Kippur 5758)

Rabbi Benyamin Adilman is the dean  of  the Nishmas Chayim Yeshiva in Jerusalem [www.nishmas.org], and also the author of a very interesting, but sporadically published, weekly chasidic parsha sheet, B’ohelei Tzadikim, from which this article is taken.


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