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Yom Kippur Laws Regarding Rinsing, Swallowing Saliva, and Accidentally Making A Beracha To Eat

Just a few laws regarding eating or drinking on Yom Kippur, which we know is forbidden from the Torah. If by mistake somebody picks up a food on a Yom Kippur and makes a Beracha, and then remembers that it’s Yom Kippur, Halacha says he puts the food down even though he made a Beracha, and he immediately says, ‘Baruch Shem Kivod Malchuto Liolam Vaed.’ This is the opinion of the S'de Chemed, and it’s also brought down in the Sefer Zera Emet. And that is the Halacha.

Furthermore, the question would be if a person is allowed to rinse his mouth out just with water, while of course spitting it out without swallowing? Just a little water to swirl around in his mouth in the morning to clean out his mouth. The question today, asks if that is permissible. Maran clearly writes in Seman 567 that this is certainly forbidden on the fast days of Yom Kippur and Tisha BeAv. And therefore the Halacha, when one wakes in the morning, or during the course of the day, it is forbidden to rinse his mouth with water even if he has his head down and even if it’s a little water, and even if he’s careful to spit it all out.

Lastly, there is an interesting discussion amongst the Acharonim, and even the Rishonim discuss it. The question discussed asks if it is permissible to swallow saliva on Yom Kippur? A whole discussion is brought about whether or not saliva is considered a food. The opinion of the Agudah brings down clearly that it’s permissible. He considers it as a food, but not really a food that is consumed, so he doesn’t have a problem with it. Others don’t even consider it a food at all. Some Rabbis want to say like the Chatam Sofer, whereas he makes a difference between the night and the morning. He says that at night, you should avoid swallowing saliva, since your saliva will still have the flavor of the food that you ate at the Seuda Mafseket. But on the next day, he says, you don’t have any problem, and you can swallow your saliva.

The Halacha, our Poskim all say clearly, that it is permissible to swallow the saliva on Yom Kippur. Of course, one should not have Kavana (concentration) to collect the saliva in his mouth and then swallow it in order to somehow quench his thirst or something like that. One should be careful not to have Kavana. Pray normally, and don’t be pre-occupied with your swallowing, and you will have no problems. The Halacha, it is permissible to swallow the saliva on Yom Kippur.

They say that the former Mashgiach of Lakewood, used to keep tissues with him on Yom Kippur, and he used to be constantly spitting out, in order not to swallow any saliva. So you see that some of the Gedolim were strict on this. But the Halacha, it’s definitely permissible to swallow the saliva. We don’t consider it food, and therefore it’s permissible.