Related to, but not duplicating Falling behind during davening, how should you attempt to keep up with overly-quick recitation of selichos?

I would assume that you interrupt the piyut you’re reciting in order to say the 13 middos along with the tzibur, but what then? Do you

  • continue from where you were,
  • start the next piyut along with the congregation, or
  • does this depend on what’s being said? (E.g., continue with what you’re saying unless the tzibur is up to one of the responsive piyutim.)

3 Answers 3


Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky in his Sefer Halachos says that you should go back and finish the Piyut you were saying. Better to say one complete one than to say many broken ones.

  • +1. Is your last sentence also a paraphrase of what he wrote? Can you cite a chapter or page number or something?
    – msh210
    Sep 11, 2012 at 22:23

Just say whatever the congregation is saying, and concentration on the meaning of the words, even if you have to constantly have to glance over at the translation. An important general rule that also applies when reciting Pesukei DeZimrah, Tehillim, and Kinnot is that it is better to say less with more concentration than more with less concentration. Also, if you sincerely wanted to perform a Mitzvah but were prevented from doing so, Hashem considers it as if you actually did perform it (as long as you had sincerity that you wanted to perform it). This is stated on Daf Vav of Tractate Berakhoth, and is an Asmachta from Chapter Three of the Book of Malachi.

Falling behind during selichos

  • 2
    To clarify, B'rachos 6 (citing Mal'achi) is the source for the "if you sincerely wanted..." part, not for the first part, which primarily addresses the question.
    – msh210
    Jul 22, 2012 at 18:26
  • 1
    @msh210 - that is indeed true. Thanks for clarifying! Jul 22, 2012 at 18:27

My suggestion:

When the chazan begins repeating the last lines of the piyut, skip to the last stanza and say it with him. Often, the last stanza is the "punchline" of the piyut, and the main request/message of it. It would be too bad to just stop in the middle and not get to say it. You should then be able to start kel Melech with the tzibur. Then continue to the next piyut with everyone, following the same trend.

I think the same thing works well for Kinnot and other piyutim (eg: yotzros), where the punchline (and often the request for redemption/salvation/repentance etc..) is often at the end.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .