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What is the position with saying selichos (end of Elul and Aseres Ymei Teshuva) with a minyan that starts straight after maariv at say 10:30 or 11pm?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Most of the poskim said you can't say slichot before midnight. Harav Moshe Feinstein said that it's possible in she'at hadchak - if it's very very hard to say them after midnight.

You can see more details in Hebrew here.

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Avital, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for contributing this answer! –  Isaac Moses Aug 24 '11 at 14:50
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R. Moshe (OH 2:105) says that for a congregation that won't be able to gather after midnight, then it is better to say them before than to nullify selichos altogether. Which is why many shuls with either many young children or many elderly tend to have selichos quite early in the evening, since otherwise most of the congregation would not come to selichos. R. Moshe says this would fall under the geder of "hora'ast shah" –  Curiouser Aug 24 '11 at 15:54

Rav Ovadia says that not only is it forbidden, but if you find yourself in a place that is doing it, it is forbidden to say amen and you should leave the place, especially if they want to count on you for the minian.

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Do you have a citation for this? –  msh210 Aug 24 '11 at 21:44
    
see hazon ovadia and ialcut iosef, when I get home I can check which page exactly –  Avraham Aug 25 '11 at 10:52

For more discussion, including a proper interpretation of Igros Moshe, see:

http://learningteshuvot.blogspot.com/2010/08/saying-selichot-before-chatzot-igrot.html

Besides nicely summarizing R. Moshe's view (which I corrected in a comment to the answer above), he also quotes the view of R. Ovadya that perhaps if one cannot say it past midnight, it should be said instead before mincha.

And here: http://jewishworker.blogspot.com/2005/09/when-is-proper-time-to-say-selichos.html

R. Willig expresses a preference for reciting them after mincha if after midnight is not possible.

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