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Ashkenazim say a short paragraph starting אל ארך אפים on most Mondays and Thursdays before reading from the Torah.

It is a request to Hashem not to rebuke us in His anger and to give us forgiveness. It is reminiscent of some of the themes of tachanun.

It is not said on certain festive days but it is said even when tachanun is not said.

Why is that?

How is the prayer of אל ארך אפים on Mondays and Thursdays different from tachanun?

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My impression is it's omitted on the same days that Lamenatzeiach is omitted. –  Double AA Mar 18 '13 at 22:00
    
@DoubleAA Why is that your impression? –  Yehoshua Mar 18 '13 at 22:14
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@DoubleAA That is what Mishna Berura says (131:35). –  Michoel Mar 18 '13 at 22:19
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1 Answer 1

In the Sidur Ari it says:

אלו ימין שאין אומרים אל ארך אפים ראש חדש חנוכה פורים קטן ב' ימים ופורים גדול ב' ימים וערב פסח ותשעה באב *):‏

Footnote:

‏*) וכן בכל יום שעין אומרים תחנון.‏

Free translation:

These are the days in which we don't say אל ארך אפים Rosh Chodesh, Channukah, the small Purim 2 days, the main Purim 2 days, the eve of Pesach, 9th of Ave *):

*) And similarly in any day in which we don't say Tachanun.

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I think this question was asking according to those who do say Kel Erech Apayim even when Tachnun is omitted (Minhag Ashkenaz; see MB 131:35, Rama 429), and not Nusach Ari. –  Michoel Mar 19 '13 at 7:47
    
@Michoel The instructions on the page linked in the question seem to exclude almost every day that we don't say tachanun. –  Ariel Mar 19 '13 at 8:53
    
Ariel, one big exclusion is the entire month of Nissan besides Pesach. –  Michoel Mar 19 '13 at 11:40
    
@Ariel The rubric in the siddur Rinas Yisrael linked above has us saying Kel Erech Apayim even when Tachnun is omitted as Michoel says. The asterisk in the Siddur Ari is amazing. The editor could just have said "any day in which we don't say Tachanun". –  Avrohom Yitzchok Mar 19 '13 at 14:09
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The "Siddur Rabeynu Hazakein" from Dayan Raskin has a note explaining that footnote. Basically it was added in the Tehillas Hashem Siddurim printed after תשל"ח, based on comments the Rebbe had said in a Sicha a few years prior indicating that Kel Erech Apayim should be omitted whenever Tachanun is not said. Dayan Raskin suggests that the original instruction was not from the Ba'al Hatanya (so as not to contradict what he writes later regarding "Lamenatzeach"). –  Michoel Mar 20 '13 at 6:09
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