OK, bad title but I have been having trouble with the titles recently. Sorry.

In slichot, we say a whole set of things including many pesukim. Towards the end of the slichot, right before the shma koleinu and the vidui, we bring in a pasuk as a "support" for "tvienu el har kodshi..." bring us to your holy mountain etc. The holy mountain is (I figure) the temple mount, the "your" is God and the "us" is the Jews. But the pasuk brought in after the k'mah shekatuv, as it is written is "וַהֲבִיאוֹתִים אֶל הַר קָדְשִׁי וְשִׂמַּחְתִּים בְּבֵית תְּפִלָּתִי עוֹלֹתֵיהֶם וְזִבְחֵיהֶם לְרָצוֹן עַל מִזְבְּחִי כִּי בֵיתִי בֵּית תְּפִלָּה יִקָּרֵא לְכָל הָעַמִּים"

"I will bring them to My holy mount, and I will cause them to rejoice in My house of prayer, their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples."

(text and translation from the chabad site).

This is from Yeshayahu 56:7 which closes a set of pesukim which deal with converts and their faith that their prayers and actions will be rewarded like the actions of born-Jews. In the pasuk, the "them" is NOT the Jews, but those choosing to join from among other nations. Why would we use that as part of our selichot (where we ask for forgiveness for sins committed while we were already under the obligation to follow mitzvot) when it wasn't spoken about us and our being brought close? Are there no pesukim which point to a Jew's being brought to the Beit Hamikdash?

Is it that, homiletically, we are calling ourselves converts? I guess I haven't been checking but is it an accepted practice to take a pasuk out from its context and use it elsewhere because it can fit a different interpretation then?

  • 2
    "take a pasuk out of context and use it elsewhere because it can fit a different interpretation"?? Unheard of! ...No, wait, I heard a group of folks did this to the extreme a couple of thousand years ago.... – Gary Oct 10 '13 at 0:08
  • @Gary The s'lichos do not take this verse out of context. Please read the verse immediately preceding this one (addressing converts who seek a share with other Jews) and the verse immediately following this one (addressing the Jewish people). Rashi, in line with the context, explains "for all the nations" as meaning in addition to the Jewish people, not to its exclusion. (Link to that chapter). – Fred Oct 10 '13 at 5:38
  • @Fred It was an attempt at humor... I wasn't referring to these particular verses being taken out of context, I was thinking more of 6:3, 7:14, and most of Chapter 53 being yanked and twisted to fit a group's particular interpretation. – Gary Oct 10 '13 at 20:40
  • @Gary I understand, but I thought the actual context in this case did in fact bear mentioning. – Fred Oct 11 '13 at 0:00

Perhaps the verse is used as a kind of Kal VeChomer. The end of the verse says "for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples."

This is in line with what King Shlomo prayed for during the dedication of the Beit HaMikdash, Melachim I 8:41-43:

And also to the stranger, who (is) not of Your people Israel, but will come from a far country for the sake of Your Name....You shall hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calls You for, that all peoples of the earth may know Your Name, to fear You, as (do) Your people Israel, and that they may know that Your Name is called upon this house that I have built.

So, in the Selichot, we are basically saying that if G-d will bring the non-Jew to his holy mountain, he will surely bring the Jew.

[This is based on my understanding of the note to this passage in the Selichot prayer, here].

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