Latest update: May 20th, 2013
We find the Yom Kippur Katan prayer service in Siddur HaShelah (p. 456). At the Mincha service of Erev Rosh Chodesh, we start with Parashat HaTamid and Pitum HaKetoret. We then say two techinot, “Tefilla le’ani” and “Yom Zeh,” and the psalm “La’menatze’ach al hagitit.” This is followed, as on any fast day, by Ashrei and half Kaddish. A Sefer Torah is taken out, we call three aliyot, and we read in Parashat Ki Tissa (Exodus 32:11-14, 34:1-10), “Vayechal Moshe”. The Haftara is from Isaiah (55:6-56:8), “Dirshu Hashem”.
We then say the silent Shemoneh Esreh, and those who are fasting say Anenu in Shema Kolenu. In his repetition the chazzan says Anenu as an additional blessing following “Go’el Yisrael” and before “Rofei Cholei Amo Yisrael.”
Following the Reader’s Repetition we proceed to say the balance of the Yom Kippur Katan service, beginning with “Lechu Ve’nashuvah,” until the end.
The conclusion is similar to the conclusion of the Ne’ilah prayer on Yom Kippur in that we say “Chatanu, Tzurenu – Our Rock, we have sinned,” then “Shema Yisrael…” (once, by the chazzan and repeated by the congregation), then “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto…” (said aloud three times by the chazzan and repeated by the congregation), then “Hashem Hu HaElokim” (seven times by the chazzan and repeated by the congregation), followed by “Hashem Melech, Hashem Malach…” (This is recited verse by verse by the chazzan and repeated by the congregation). Finally a short version of Anenu is recited, followed by the full Kaddish.
In most instances, the Yom Kippur Katan service is said at the Mincha prayer preceding Rosh Chodesh. However, if the eve of Rosh Chodesh occurs on Shabbat or Friday, we recite the Yom Kippur Katan service earlier, on Thursday, since we do not normally fast on Shabbat or Friday.
This minhag, though not found in the Shulchan Aruch, has halachic implications mentioned by two posekim in their commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayyim 686) – the Magen Avraham and the Mishna Berura. They specifically discuss the problem of Erev Rosh Chodesh Tevet, which always occurs on Chanukah: some people therefore switch the fast to the eve of Chanukah so as not to fast on Chanukah itself.
About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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