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If the shul doesn't have a full minyan at the time when Selichot is supposed to start, and waiting for a minyan to gather before starting is not an option, what are the rules for what you say or don't say before the minyan is complete, and once the tenth man arrives?

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Say Ashrei and continue Lecha Hashem haTzedaka. If a Minyan comes during those points, Chatzi Kaddish is said provided some pesukim were said while the minyan was there. Mateh Efraim 581:17, Elef Lemateh. It is somewhat mashma that when the pesukim end and the main selichos start, you wouldn't say chatzi kaddish. If a minyan didn't come until the end, some selichos should be said together to say kaddish shalem.

The 13 middos or any reference to them are not said without a minyan (Matte Efrayim 581:21)

Aramaic selichos are not said without a minyan (581:21)

(I don't know the source of saying Elokeinu... before the selichos or why we skip it w/o a minyan, but that's what people do.)

  • Can you point out where in the Mishna Berurah he gives the reason? Here's Chapter 132 in the Mishna Berurah: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=14164&pgnum=25 – Menachem Sep 22 '11 at 22:32
  • The Mateh Efraim, 581:21 says the Aramaic Slichos are not said without a minyan. He says this in the name of the Elyah Rabba. The Elyah Rabbah (581:9) says that the reason we don't say Aramaic prayers without a minyan is because (and I hope I'm translating this correctly) "Angels don't understand Aramaic unless it is given over(?) to the Tzibbur, the community" -- hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=41130&pgnum=355 – Menachem Sep 23 '11 at 2:08
  • @Menachem, I'd assume that's "Angels don't understand Aramaic unless they're the ones given over to the community", but that doesn't help me understand it. – msh210 Sep 23 '11 at 5:59
  • @msh210: It is undoubtedly connected to the Gemara, which talks about not praying in Aramaic when praying alone (see Rashi for the reason): e-daf.com/index.asp?ID=2418&size=1 -- I just don't understand the words that the Elyah Rabba is using. – Menachem Sep 23 '11 at 15:09
  • @Menachem, you are correct, that wasn't the right reference and I was misremembering. I recall the reason being that tefilos with a tzibur do not require melachim to transmit the tefilos to Hashem. – YDK Sep 23 '11 at 15:32

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