Wednesday morning Shacharis: We don the kittel and the tallis and say the scheduled tefillos and Korbanos, followed by Kaddish DeRabbanan. We recite Pesukei DeZimra and Nishmas slowly and with concentration. The chazzan who serves as the “Ba’al Shacharis” starts with “HaMelech” and continues through Yishtabach (Nusach Sefarad add Shir Hama’alos) and half‑Kaddish. At Kerias Shema, Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuso is again said aloud, like last night. The Shacharis Shemoneh Esreh follows, with the Viddui before “Elokai, netzor leshoni me’ra.”
In the chazzan’s repetition we respond to the Kedusha and say the Piyyutim, Selichos and Viddui. We conclude with Avinu Malkenu and Kaddish Tiskabbel.
We remove two Sifrei Torah from the Ark. After “Va’yehi binso’a ha’aron” we say the 13 Middos, Ribbono shel Olam, Shema, Echad Elokenu (we conclude the phrase with “Kadosh Ve’nora Shemo“) and Gadlu.
We read in Parashas Acharei Mos (Vayikra 16:1‑34) and call up 6 aliyos. We place the second scroll next to the first one and the Reader (ba’al keria) says half‑Kaddish. The next aliya is Maftir, which is read from Parashas Pinchas (Bamidbar 29:7‑11). The Haftara is from Isaiah (57:14-58:14), “Ve’amar solu solu.” The reader of the Haftara concludes with the usual four berachos, and in the last beracha, Al HaTorah, all the references to Yom Kippur are included. This beracha also has a longer conclusion (like the conclusion of the Kedushas Hayom blessing in the Yom Kippur Shemoneh Esreh).
It is customary in most congregations to schedule an appeal prior to the recital of Yizkor for the departed souls, as the text clearly states, “in the merit that I will give charity.” During the Yizkor service the covered Torah scrolls remain on the Bima. At the conclusion of Yizkor it is customary for the gabbai to recite a prayer on behalf of the rav of the congregation.
We then say Av Harachamim, Ashrei, Yehallelu, etc., and return the Torah scrolls to the Ark.
Mussaf: The congregation sits silently while the chazzan recites the special prayer “Hineni He’ani” with emotion and trepidation, pleading on behalf of the congregants, “Your people Israel, who have sent me.” The second part of this prayer, “Kel Melech Ne’eman,” is a personal prayer in which the chazzan asks, among other things, that his voice “be sweet … pleasant and strong …”
The chazzan then recites half‑Kaddish and all say the Shemoneh Esreh as found in the Machzor, with the addition of the Viddui.
In the chazzan’s repetition we add many Piyyutim and special prayers, both before the Kedusha and after. In the course of some of these prayers the Aron Hakodesh is opened numerous times. The Shemoneh Esreh repetition includes the Avoda (a description of the Yom Kippur Temple service of the Kohen Gadol). Nusach Ashkenaz generally say “Amitz Ko’ach” whereas Sefarad say Ata Konanta, but some Ashkenaz congregations use the “Ata Konanta” text. The Avoda is followed by the confessional. At Retzeh, the Kohanim prepare to Duchan (their hands having been washed – to the knuckles only – by the Levi’im, or, in their absence, by the firstborn).
The chazzan continues with Kaddish Tiskabbel, which serves as the conclusion of Mussaf. (We do not say Ein Ke’Elokenu or Aleinu at this point – Aleinu having been said before, in the Amida.)
Mincha: We immediately proceed with “Va’yehi binso’a ha’aron” and remove a Sefer Torah from the Ark. We call three aliyos (Kohen, Levi, Yisrael). It is traditional for the three aliyos to be sold, especially the last one, which serves as Maftir. We read in Parashas Acharei Mos (Vayikra 18:1‑30). The Maftir then reads the entire Book of Jonah (1:1‑4:11) for the Haftara. He concludes with Birkas HaTorah (we do not say “Al HaTorah” at Mincha).
We return the Sefer Torah to the Ark, the chazzan recites half‑Kaddish and all say the Shemoneh Esreh as found in the Machzor, adding the Viddui before “Elokai, netzor leshoni me’ra.”
In the chazzan’s repetition, Selichos and the confessional are added after Ya’aleh VeYavo. The chazzan then continues with Kedushas Hayom, etc., and at the conclusion he recites Avinu Malkenu (with the congregation), followed by Kaddish Tiskabbel.
Ne’ilah: We now begin the fifth and final prayer, the intense prayer that is the climax of Yom Kippur – Ne’ilah (lit. “closure”). We say Ashrei and U’va LeTziyyon, and the chazzan recites half‑Kaddish. Then all say the Ne’ilah Shemoneh Esreh as found in our Machzor, praying that every request for a good judgment be granted, and substitute every mention of “kesiva” (inscription) with “chasima” (sealing), concluding with an abbreviated confessional.