Sunday, September 28, 2008

Information &/or advice requested re Selichot prayers

So I go searching the Internet for information about the Selichot penitential prayers, click on a Hebrew-only text from Chabad, and am shocked to see that their PDF of Selichot is 199 pages long! I haven't even decided yet whether or not I'm going to start saying these prayers, but I can tell you right now that anything longer than about two pages is out of the question--I simply can't davven (pray) quickly enough to add massive quantities of text to my weekday morning prayers, even for only a week or so. The Orthodox Union's website says that, according to the ArtScroll siddur/prayer book, the main component of the Selichot prayers is the Thirteen Attributes ("AdoShem, AdoShem, KEl rachum, v'chanun . . . ). Maybe I'll just stick with that (unless anyone has a better suggestion). Where in the service should Selichot be recited?

I should clarify my question by mentioning that I'm not aware of any Conservative congregation that recites the Selichot prayers at any time other than "Selichot Night" (for lack of a better description), meaning the Saturday night that's at least one week before Rosh Hashanah. So the daily weekday morning recital thereof would be a completely new practice for me.


Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Received via e-mail--not posting sender's name because I don't know whether he wants it known:

The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy are recited as a prayer only in the presence of a Minyan. I suggest that the selection beginning Shema Koleinu and ending after the Vidui/confession encapsulates many of the Selichot themes, and might be a better area to focus on. It’s about a page long. If you email the link to the Selichot text you were using I’d be glad to point out the text to you. Sorry for the curtness of this email – my eyes are clooosssiiiingggg…. The Selichot (during the High Holidays season) are recited before Shacharit.

Mon Sep 29, 07:08:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Elie said...

Agree with the previous comment. If you want to do just a bit more, I'd add the ~1-page section right before "shma koaleynu", beginning "aseh imanu...". This is a set of biblical quotes that encapsulate the major concepts of teshuvah and Divine forgiveness.

In addition to the suggested selections being a good summary/climax of the Selichos themes, they also have the advantage of being written in relatively simple and understandable Hebrew. Much of the selichos, like the kinnos said on Tisha B'av or piyyutim on the high holidays themselves, are written in very complex/poetic language, full of references that require a talumdic background to unravel.

Mon Sep 29, 08:55:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I can't open my Blogger e-mail account in the office, due to both technical and anonymity-maintenance reasons, but here's the Chabad Selichot link.

Thanks to the e-mail sender and Elie for your help. If either of you (or anyone else) could tell me where to find Sh'ma Koleinu in this tome--or better yet, if anyone can direct me to a Hebrew-*English* version of Selichot--I'd certainly appreciate it.

Shanah Tovah u-M'tukah l'chulam--A Good and Sweet Year to all!

Mon Sep 29, 11:14:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

After a short "scrolling party," I found Sh'ma Koleinu and the Vidui on pages 15-16. I can manage Sh'ma Koleinu throught the Vidui. More than that is a bit of a challenge to my Hebrew skills.

Mon Sep 29, 12:23:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

May I assume that one recites Selichot *after* putting on one's tallit and tefillin? When you say "before Shacharit," do you mean before Birkot HaShachar, or after Birkot HaShachar but before P'sukei D'Zimrah?

Mon Sep 29, 12:32:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Elie said...

Personally, I go to (and often lead) a 10:00 pm maariv/selichos minyan each night. But the morning minyanim do say them before brachos - i.e., before starting any part of shachris - so most of the participants indeed will not be putting on their tallis and tefillin until after selichos. In fact, given the time that many daily minyanim start selichos, it's often too early to put on tallis and tefillin at that point anyway!

That said, since as I gather you would be saying selichos in private, certainly there's no reason to wait until afterwards for tallis and tefillin.

Thu Oct 02, 11:22:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I didn't think to print out the Selichot yesterday, to take to Thursday minyan--our synagogue has weekday morning services on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday only--so I started recited those prayers today. (Okay, I'm a day late even for an Aseret-Y'mei-T'shuvah/Ten Days of Repentance minhan/custom, but better late than never.) I decided to stick to my e-mailer's suggestion and just start with Sh'ma Koleinu and go through the short Vidui/confession. I pray through the paragraph "sarnu mi-mitzvotecha," and that's it. Even that amount of text adds a few minutes to my davvening (praying) time. Add to that the necessity of reciting Avinu Malkeinu--and, by logic, Tachanun (which I often save for Mincha, when I have more time), because I think it would be a bit weird to say Avinu Malkeinu and then skip Tachanun--and my Shacharit service is about 10 minutes longer as it is.

I also decided to spare my arm a couple minutes of the Jewish version of a blood-pressure cuff :) and put on the tallit and tefillin afterward. :)

Fri Oct 03, 11:48:00 AM 2008  

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