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Why do we wear a tallit at kol nidre?

And if one arrives late to kol nidre and night has fallen already, should he put one on?

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya and thanks for your timely and relevant question. I hope you stick around and enjoy the site. – msh210 Sep 21 '14 at 5:47
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    No source available, just from memory - I am fairly sure that the problem is only with the brachah which must not be said after sunset (not nightfall) because the time for tzitzit is when they can be seen (i.e. not a night). If someone is delayed to the extent that it is after sunset, then they should put on the tallit without a brachah. – Epicentre Sep 21 '14 at 5:53
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Summarizing from p. 349 of this book:

The custom originated from Rav Meir of Rothenberg who stated that on the night of Yom Kippur we recite the 13 "middot" - Attrubutes of Mercy, multiple times during our tefillah (after the Amidah). There is a midrash (mentioned in Talmud Rosh Hashannah 17b) that G-d wrapped himself in a tallit, similar to a Chazzan when he taught Moses these attributes. Therefore, we imitate what G-d did when we recite them.

My curiosity - we can apply this "argument" to the recital of selichot, esp. the 1st one which is said at night. There, too, we recite the 13 middot multiple times, yet we do not wear a tallit, then. Perhaps, Yom Kippur is special?

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Nitei Gavriel Hilchos Yom Hakipurim page 181 note 24 in the name of Siach Yitzchak that we wear a Talis at Kol Nidrei based on the Yerushalmi Chagiga 1:5 that says that one needs to wear a Talis at the time of Hataras Nedarim.

He goes on to say that one should only make a Bracha on the Talis up to the time he would normally Daven Mincha.

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    +1. Would you happen to be able to explain the connection (written about in that footnote in נטעי גבריאל) between "נדרים flying away, therefore you should wear a Talis"? – Shokhet Sep 21 '14 at 13:22
  • The Yerushalmi is 1:8 – sam Oct 2 '14 at 17:56
  • @Sam: You can fix the answer. – Gershon Gold Oct 2 '14 at 18:02
  • See the Korban Haeida and Pnei Moshe and here for Rav Chaim Kanievsky's biur hebrewbooks.org/… – sam Oct 2 '14 at 18:03
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    The flying in air reference is that it does not have an explicit. Source rather a halacha lMoshe Misinai – sam Oct 2 '14 at 18:19

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