Al Het


Al Het (ahl CHAYT) listen
Al Het (ahl CHEYT) listen


  • n. A Yom Kippur confessional prayer that asks forgiveness for a number of sins while one beats one's chest.

Example Sentences

  • "The traditional "Al Het" confessional prayer on Yom Kippur is a chance for the community to confess their sins together. This ritual, which can be performed during the month of Elul or during the high holidays, asks participants to think differently about guilt, to think about guilt that is placed on us by outside forces." (source)

  • "A new Al Het is inserted a few pages after the Martyrology during the Musaf with particular reference to the Holocaust." (source)

  • "Al Ḥet contains a list of sins in alphabetical order, two sins being allotted to every letter." (source)

  • "A custom associated with Al Chet is to beat the heart while saying the words al chet." (Glinert)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew


  • על חטא al chet 'and due to the sin [of...]'

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
      • Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa


      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).

      Alternative Spellings

      Al Chet, al-chet, al-het, al khet, al-khet, al cheit, al-cheit, al heit, al-heit, al kheit, al-kheit, al cheyt, al-cheyt, al heyt, al kheyt, al chayt, al hayt, al khayt, al chait, al hait, al khait, al-chayt, al-hayt, al-khayt, al-chait, al-hait, al-khait


  • "The congregation says the Al Het aloud as well as silently because Jews are responsible not only for themselves but also for their entire community" (JPS).

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