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What is an appropriate greeting for Yom Kippur? "Hag Sameach" doesn't seem to work. Is it "Have a good fast," or something similar?

I'm interested in knowing Hebrew and English.

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    Adam, a belated welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing your questions here! I look forward to seeing you around. – Isaac Moses Sep 25 '15 at 18:04
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    @AdamHrankowski be aware that for another user to be informed that you contacted him/her, and ampersand (@P) should be placed before the username, as in this comment (although incidentally since it is your post you would see all comments whether or not they have an @). – mevaqesh Sep 25 '15 at 19:06
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Well, Yom Kippur is over for 5776. But the most common greeting is G'mar Chatimah Tova, meaning literally "A good finish of the sealing."

The concept is similar to what is said as part of the Unetaneh Tokef poem, which is one of the highlights of the High Holiday Musaph services. In it, it says, "On Rosh Hashanna it is written, and on Yom Kippur, it is sealed". I.e. on Rosh Hashannah G-d opens the Books of Life and Death. On Rosh Hashannah, mankind's fate is written in one of these books, and on Yom Kippur, the fate is sealed closed.

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    Adam Hrankowski, tHank you for asking the question and @DanF. Thank you for your answer. I was in a position of having to greet people on Yom Tova and wasn't sure how to do so. – JJLL Sep 25 '15 at 18:36
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    @JJLL This is the most common greeting, AFAIK. I have heard people says Good Yom Tov, and while rarer, some people have wished me Good Shabbes, as Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shabbaton (The Sabbath of Sabbaths), so that's not incorrect. I've also heard Shanah Tovah, Have a good fast, and of course, the generic "Wazzup" ;-} – DanF Sep 25 '15 at 18:45
  • Yes, we alternated between Good Yom Tov and Shana Tova. Okay, I even threw in a few "Hey's" for good measure. It is common for secular or less observant Jews to say "Good Shabbos" even on Tuesday of a non-Holy Day. But you introduced an interesting fact that some people say Good Shabbos on Yom Kippur. Appreciate it Dan. Good Shabbos! – JJLL Sep 25 '15 at 21:54
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In addition to "g'mar chasima tova"[1] mentioned by DanF, I've often heard "good yom tov". I often hear them in combination, actually: "good yom tov; g'mar chasima tova".


[1] It is worth noting that Chabad-Lubavitch folks wish "a chasima and a g'mar chasima tova" — I think until n'ila.

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my 2 cents...

I encourage the common "צום מועיל" = "tzom mo eel" = may your fast be useful.

by the book, This wish that your fast will be accepted by god...
but I like to take it as a greeting for the fast be useful to yourself...

  • Thanks for your input and welcome to Mi Yodeya. Incidentally, I've also heard "tzom kal umoil" ("an easy and effective fast"). – msh210 Sep 25 '15 at 21:01
  • @msh210 yes, it is very common, though i don't support the word 'easy' because the fasting shouldn't be easy... it should be somewhat "torture". – Tomer W Sep 26 '15 at 18:56
  • @msh210 At least in my (mainly Ortho.) circles, the "tzom kal" is meant to imply that it should not be dangerous, as well as not be so uncomfortable as to interfere with the davening. Many of us who lived through the 60's and a bit into the 70's can vouch for the numerous old shul buildings that had no A/C or even ceiling fans. You opened the few shul windows that you could, and between the occasional outside breeze and waving your seat ticket in front of your face, you got, some relief. It was rare to go through Yom Kippur without someone fainting or needing an ambulance! – DanF Sep 27 '15 at 3:42

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