What does having a nocturnal emssion on Yom Kippur mean? I’ve seen different opinions. Please cite sources.

  • 2
    Why do you think it would be any different than any other time you had a nocturnal emission?
    – ezra
    Oct 23, 2018 at 2:45
  • @ezra, those who hold by tevilat 'Ezra can't tovel and, as such, can't daven or learn Oct 23, 2018 at 2:58
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt And that's exclusive to Y''K how?
    – ezra
    Oct 23, 2018 at 3:17
  • 1
    @Ezra You can't go to the mikvah on YK nowadays. (Note that even those that customarily hold of takkanat ezra should pray as normal on YK without going to mikvah.)
    – Joel K
    Oct 23, 2018 at 6:25
  • 2
    What do you mean what does it mean? These comments aren’t addressing what it means rather what to do about it. Please clarify if necessary
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Oct 23, 2018 at 8:38

2 Answers 2


Yoma 88a:

תני תנא קמיה דרב נחמן הרואה קרי ביוה"כ עונותיו מחולין לו ... תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל הרואה קרי ביוה"כ ידאג כל השנה כולה ואם עלתה לו שנה מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק תדע שכל העולם כולו רעב והוא שבע כי אתא רב דימי אמר מפיש חיי סגי ומסגי:‏

A beraita was taught before R. Nachman: One who has an emission on Yom Kippur, his sins are forgiven ...

A beraita was taught by the school of R. Yishma'el: One who has an emission on the night of Yom Kippur should worry the whole year. And if he survives the year, he should be confident that he has a place in the world to come.

R. Nachman says: Know that this is true, for the whole world is hungry and he is satiated.

When R. Dimi came he said: He will live long, grow and raise others.

Rashi explains that the opinions that see it positively (the beraita taught before R. Nachman and R. Dimi) understand an emission to be an omen of fertility and long life (hinted at in Yeshayah 53:10).

Conversely, the school of R. Yishma'el feels that one who had an emission should worry, because he is being told that his fast is not being accepted. Nevertheless, if he survives the year, he should rejoice as he must have great merits that protected him.

Notably, Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 615:2 quotes only the beraita of R. Yishma'el's school:

הרואה קרי בליל יום הכפורים ידאג כל השנה ואם עלתה לו שנה מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא:‏

One who has an emission on the night of Yom Kippur should worry the whole year. And if he survives the year, he should be confident that he has a place in the world to come.

Mishnah Berurah ad loc. points out that this teaching does not apply if there is a naturalistic explanation for his emission e.g. he ate or drank a lot before the fast, or had improper thoughts.


The Shulchan Aruch Harav 615:2 writes that one who's sees Keri should be nervous throughout the year, because maybe his tefillos were not answered, and if he lives through the year then it proves he had many merits to protect him:

הָרוֹאֶה קֶרִי בְּלֵיל  יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים – יִדְאַג כָּל הַשָּׁנָה, שֶׁמָּא לֹא קִבְּלוּ תַּעֲנִיתוֹ  וְהִשְׂבִּיעוּהוּ בְּמַה שֶּׁבְּיָדָם לְהַשְׂבִּיעוֹ, כְּעֶבֶד שֶׁבָּא לִמְזֹג כּוֹס לְרַבּוֹ וְשׁוֹפֵךְ לוֹ רַבּוֹ הַקִּיתוֹן (פֵּרוּשׁ קִיתוֹן שֶׁל מַיִם  שֶׁמִּמֶּנָּה מוֹזֵג הַכּוֹס שֶׁל יַיִן) עַל פָּנָיו, כְּלוֹמַר אִי אֶפְשִׁי בְּשִׁמּוּשְׁךָ, וְאִם עָלְתָה לוֹ שָׁנָה – מֻבְטָח לוֹ שֶׁהוּא בֶּן עוֹלָם הַבָּא,שֶׁבְּוַדַּאי יֵשׁ לוֹ זְכֻיּוֹת הַרְבֵּה שֶׁהֵגֵנּוּ עָלָיו, וְהוּא יַאֲרִיךְ יָמִים, שֶׁכָּךְ הַסִּימָן "יִרְאֶה זֶרַע – יַאֲרִיךְ יָמִים":כ

However, in the footnotes to this halacha, it brings the Tzemech Tezedek who explains that this is talking about very great people whose minds are void of impure thoughts. See Kovetz Halchos (Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky) which explains that for an average person one should not be worried. He brings many sources.

ראה שו"ת צמח צדק או"ח סי' קיא בשם רבנו (שהאמור כאן הוא לאנשים גדולים מאד שמצד הרהורי לבם רחוקים מזה מאד

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