918. The Kittel

131:15 On Yom Kippur, the practice is to wear a kittel, which is the garment of the dead, because this humbles a person. A mourner may also wear the kittel (though this is not the custom in all places – Mishnah Brurah 610:18). Since this garment is designated for prayer, one may not wear it into the bathroom. Women should also wear clean white garments in honor of the day, but they do not wear jewelry out of awe of the judgment.

131:16 The practice is for parents to bless their children before entering shul because the holy day has already started and the gates of mercy are open. We ask Hashem to inscribe them for a good life and that their hearts should have proper awe of Him. We plead with tears for their prayers to be accepted and that our children should be stirred to proper behavior and the paths of the righteous. Some people visit relatives who are scholars and righteous in order to have them bless the children and to ask that they pray for them on Yom Kippur. This should be done early in the day so that one will be ready to receive the holiness of the day calmly in the evening. The blessing for one’s children is “G-d make you…, etc.” (the “priestly benediction”) but one may add other prayers according to his ability to do so.   One should also say, “May it be the will of our Father in heaven to instill in your heart love and awe of Him, that awe of G-d will be with you all your life so that you do not sin, that you desire Torah and mitzvos, that you look ahead, that you speak wisely and your heart behave properly, that your hands be occupied with mitzvos, that your feet run to do the will of our Father in Heaven, that you be given righteous sons and daughters who will occupy themselves with Torah and mitzvos all their lives. May your livelihood be blessed and your income be provided permissibly, pleasantly and profitably from His generous hand rather than relying on other people – a livelihood that enables you to serve G-d – and may you be written and sealed for a good and long life with all the righteous of Israel. Amen.”