Suppose attending a minyan for selichot is impossible in the week before Rosh Hashannah. Which parts of selichot can be said without a minyan, and which parts must be omitted?


If someone is unable to attend a Minyan for Selichos he would not say the Shelosh Esrei Midos. In addition the Ashkenazim would not say the words that are in Aramaic, however for Sefardim there are those that permit it. There are also those that permit saying the Shelosh Esrei Midos if it is done to the tune we read the Torah.

Sources: Mishna Berura 581:4, Hilchos Chagim - Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu - page 206, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yalkot Yosef 581:15

  • So one would say through "vsham ne'emar" or "vayikra bshem ...", then skip the 13 midos, then pick up again at "s'lach lanu avinu ki chatanu"? – Daniel Sep 6 '12 at 18:03
  • Also, I don't seem to see any selichot at least for Sunday that seem to be in Aramaic. Which ones are those? – Daniel Sep 6 '12 at 18:03
  • Machai UMaisai, Maran Di Bishmaya, etc. – Gershon Gold Sep 6 '12 at 18:06
  • 2
    Could you clarify exactly what is skipped for the "13 midos"? Is it just the midos themselves hashem hashem... until v'nakeh, or some of the intro and concluding paragraphs as well? – Daniel Sep 6 '12 at 21:44
  • @Daniel: Please ask your question as a separate question. – Gershon Gold Apr 10 '13 at 14:42

For Sephardim, the Orot Sephardic Selihot (ed. R. Eliezer Toledano) writes the following:

One who is reciting the Selihot without a minyan must say the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy with the cantillation melody used when reading from the Torah (Shulhan Aruch) 665:5). He may not recite those portions of the Selihot that are written in Aramaic (e.g., Marana D'vismaya..."); cf. Kaf Hahayyim 581:26.

For more detail, see Yalkut Yosef, Siman 581:14:

הסליחות שנתקנו בלשון ארמית [תרגום], כגון ''רחמנא'', ''מחי ומסי'', ''דעני לעניי ענינן'', ''מרנא דבשמיא'', אין ליחיד לאומרם, מפני שאין מלאכי השרת מכירין בלשון ארמי, ורק אם יש מנין בבית הכנסת אומרים אותם, שהצבור אינו זקוק לעזרת מלאכי השרת, שהשכינה עמהם. [ראה בקול תורה אלול תשס''ג עמוד ז]. ולכן כשעדיין לא באו עשרה להשלים מנין, ידלג השליח צבור רחמנא ושאר קטעי סליחות הנ''ל, וכשיבואו עשרה יאמרם. ונכון לנהוג כשטרם באו עשרה לבית הכנסת לסליחות, לומר אחר שבט יהודה בדוחק ובצער [קודם אל מלך]''רבונו של עולם אתוודה על עבירות'', וכו', והוידוי ושאר תחנות שבלשון הקודש, וכשיופיע העשירי לסליחות יחזרו ל''אל מלך'', ויעבור, רחמנא, אנשי אמונה, ושאר הסליחות שדילגו. ואם הזמן מצומצם בכל זאת יאמרו אל מלך, ויעבור, אנשי אמונה וכו', וידלגו ''אם אפס'' ויתחילו ''זכרון לפניך בשחק''. וכן ידלגו ''בזכרי על משכבי'' וכן ''אליך ה' נשאתי עיני'' כפי הצורך, כי מעלת אמירת י''ג מדות עולה על חשיבות הסליחות הללו. ואם אין תקוה שיגיע מנין במשך זמן אמירת הסליחות, אז יאמרו כל הי''ג מדות במקומם, עם טעמי המקרא, כמי שקורא בתורה. [וראה בשו''ת יביע אומר ח''י בהערות לרב פעלים חאו''ח ח''ג סי' מא בענין סדר ז' כורתי ברית בתפלת רחמנא שאומרים בסליחות].

The selichot set in the Aramaic language [Targum], such as "Rachamana," "Machai U'Masai," "Deanei Laaniyeh," "Marana D'vismaya," are not said by an individual, because the ministering angels do not understand the Aramaic language. And only if there is a minyan in the synagogue are they said, as the community doesn't need the help of ministering angels since the Shekhina is with them [See B'Kol Torah Elul תשס"ג Page 7]. Therefore, when ten have yet to come to make a minyan, the prayer leader skips "Rachamana" and the other selichot mentioned above, and once ten arrive they say it.

When ten have yet to arrive to the synagogue for selichot by the end of "Shevet Yehudah B'Dochak Uvtzaar", it is proper conduct to say [before El Melech] "רבונו של עולם אתוודה על עבירות" (Master of the Universe, I will confess my transgressions), etc., as well as the Viddui (Confession) and the rest of the sections that are in the Holy Tongue, and when the tenth man arrives to selichot they return to "El Melech," "Vayavor," "Rachamana," "Anshei Emunah," and the rest of the selichot that were skipped. And if time is limited anyway, they say "El Melech," "Vayavor," "Anshei Emunah," etc., and they skip "Im Afes," and start on "Zikaron Lefanecha Baschak." And they skip "Bezochri Al Mishcavi" and "Elecha HaShem Nafshi Esa," as necessary, since the virtue of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy take precedence over these selichot. And if there is no hope that a minyan will appear during the recitation of selichot, they then say all of the Thirteen Attributes in their usual place, with cantillation melody, as if reading from the Torah. [See Responsa Yabia Omer Helek 10, in the notes to Rav Poalim Orach Chaim Helek 3, Siman 41 on the order of the 7 covenants in the prayer "Rachamana" that are said in selichot].

Hope that helps.


The most obvious is the kaddishes. It is possible that since Ashrei is there so we can say kaddish, without kaddish the ashrei goes away too.

In addition, the 13 middot are skipped, as is the paragraph wherein we say that G-d told us to say the 13 middot, since G-d only told a minyan to say the 13 middot. Using the Torah tune and reciting whole verses helps for the 13 middot themselves, but not for the other paragraph.

All of this is based on R' Eliakim Koenigsberg, here.

  • Where exactly did God say that? – Double AA Sep 7 '12 at 9:52
  • @DoubleAA presumably ze'ev is talking about the paragraph that includes el horayta lanu lomar shlosh esrei... – Daniel Sep 9 '12 at 12:17
  • @Daniel I don't see anything in there about God talking about a minyan. – Double AA Jul 3 '13 at 13:34
  • @Daniel got the paragraph I was going for. It is a fair point that G-d told Moshe to say it, and Moshe was alone. That said, we still skip both 13 middot and preceding paragraph if there is no minyan. – Ze'ev misses Monica Jul 11 '13 at 8:24

The answers before me gave the sources for not saying the 13 midos in private. I would like to also point out what the Aruch HaShulchan (581:13) says in the name of Pri Etz Chayim, that someone praying alone can say the 13 midos and instead of saying G-d's name (יקוק) say it in a"t bas"h — מצפ"ץ.

  • Does he indicate if there is any value to saying His name this way as opposed to, say, any other combination of 4 letters as a designated stand-in? – Double AA Jul 3 '13 at 13:48

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