Yom Kippur Blessings: For starting observance of the day

On Yom Kippur, we share a holiday meal called seudat mafseket, the concluding meal before the fast begins. We begin the meal with haMotzi, the blessing over the challah.

Uncover the challah and say:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, hamotzi lechem min haaretz.

We praise You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Cut or break off pieces of challah for each family member to eat. After we are finished eating the meal, we officially begin the holiday by lighting and blessing candles with the following blessings:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam asher kid'shanu
b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik neir shel yom hakippurim.

We praise you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who hallows us with mitzvot, and commands us to kindle the light of Yom Kippur.

Next we recite the blessing marking a special occasion:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam,
shehehchehyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higianu laz'man hazeh.

We praise You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, for giving us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this season.

After lighting the candles, the holiday and the fast officially begin. There is no holiday kiddush -- blessing over the wine, for Yom Kippur.