11

Learn the meaning behind the vidui before saying it. Buy a sefer that translates them or an interlinear siddur, and daven from that. Write your own commentary to them whilst learning the meanings.


9

The Mishnah Berurah (OC 581:5) explains: many people have the custom to fast for ten days (including Yom Kippur) as part of seeking repentance (Levush). Starting from Rosh haShannah you lose at least four days: the two days of Rosh haShannah, Shabbat Shuvah (the Shabbat in between Rosh haShannah and Yom Kipppur) and the day before Yom Kippur (when it is ...


9

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.


8

Because it has a slicha begining with "Bmotzei Mnucha" (At the end of the day of rest) and we can't say slichos and 13 midos before midnight. The source mentions Magen Avraham 525:5 which cannot be true (there is no such sif katan 525:5, and in general this siman is about borrowing on Yom Tov). Most likely it is referring to http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager....


8

The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Sefer Hashichos 5750 vol. 1 page 351 footnote 132) quotes the Tzemach Tzedek's explanation of the Chabad custom to recite selichos only until Rosh Hashana and not during Aseres Yemei Teshuva: עד כאן (עד ר"ה) - מצות אמירה, ומכאן ואילך - מצות עשייה Until Rosh Hashana the emphasis is on speech, from then after the the emphasis is ...


7

I think the source of this minhag is in the Talmud (TB Rosh Hashana 17b): ויעבור ה' על פניו ויקרא א"ר יוחנן אלמלא מקרא כתוב אי אפשר לאומרו מלמד שנתעטף הקב"ה כשליח צבור והראה לו למשה סדר תפלה אמר לו כל זמן שישראל חוטאין יעשו לפני כסדר הזה ואני מוחל להם (Roughly: "Hashem passed before him, and He called" (Shmot 34:6): Said R' Yochanan: if this scripture were ...


7

The kapparah of Rosh Chodesh is different than the regular type. On one level, the goat offered as a chatas on this day (also on the other Yamim Tovim, incidentally, except for Yom Kippur) is to atone for cases of tum'ah involving the Beis Hamikdash or sacred foods where there was "no knowledge at the beginning or the end" - in other words, the person never ...


7

Rabbi Dr. Immanual Shochat's introduction to his translation of Slichos (page xii) places the first text of Slichos to Rav Amram Gaon. Wikipedia contends that the slichos part is of later vintage, but brings no evidence for the assertion (that the entire thing is whole cloth of later vintage, rather than interpolation of later slichos into what Rav Amram ...


7

The Arukh haShulchan (OC 620:1) writes: ומה שתמיהני: דהנה הרא"ש שלהי יומא, והטור בסימן זה הביאו בשם הגאונים לומר בשחרית חמש פעמים "ויעבור". ויש אומרים שלוש עשרה פעמים כנגד שלוש עשרה מדות. ויש אומרים שבע פעמים, ובמוסף שבע פעמים, וכן במנחה, עיין שם. ואנחנו אין מזכירין אפילו פעם אחת. ויש מנהגים שאין להם עיקר — ונזהרים בהם, וזה שהוא מהגאונים ובהזכרת שלוש עשרה ...


6

Yes, Taame Haminhagim 681 says (with my own translation): טעם שהש״ץ מתעטף בציצית כשמשכימין לסליחות אע״פ שאין זמן ציצית, משום דאיתא, הקב״ה נתעטף בציצית כש״ץ והרגיל למרע״ה י״ג מדות, אלמא כשאומר י״ג מדות יתעטף בציצית The reason the shatz (leader) wraps himself in tzitzis when we arise early for s'lichos although it's not yet the hour for tzitzis is that ...


6

From an article by Dayan Raskin, in a footnote by Rav Yosef S. Ginsburg (the Rav of the town of Omer), Footnote 18: העירוני, שהרבי הקפיד תמיד לומר י"ג מידות בעמידה מבלי להיסמך על איזה דבר. ולכן הצליחו לראות פעמים רבות (וכן נראה בווידיאו) שכאשר הש"ץ מיהר, ובאומרו י"ג מידות עמד הרבי עדיין ב"א-ל מלך", לא אמר הרבי י"ג מידות עם הציבור ממש, אלא אמרם לעצמו כאשר ...


6

(Assuming that finding a slower Minyan is not an option, and that you are using the Ashkenazi/Chassidich version.) Take a 2-pronged approach: Prepare Don't plan on saying it all Prepare the shortest chapter of that day; very often it's the Pizmun - the one towards the end recited by the congregation and Chazzan. Spend a few minutes before Selichot (or ...


6

This idea may have an earlier source, but I found in the Nit'ei Gavriel (Rosh HaShana, ch. 2, fn. 33) that the recitation of the 13 middos causes HaShem to move to His throne of mercy (see also Rosh HaShana 17b), which is why all subsequent recitations are preceded by "Kail Melech Yoshaiv" ("Lord King who sits on the Throne of Mercy").


6

The text of the Selihot appears at Da`at (Herzog College) and at Wikitext. The text is nearly the same every day. There are additions for the 10 days of repentance, and there is a small section which varies based on the day of the week. There are also sections which are said in some congregations but not in others.


5

For Pizmon, the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l (in his notes at the end of the Chabad Selichos) summarizes the following explanations: Something repeated over and over. (Responsa of Ri Migash #204) Related to a root for crying out. (Tishbi) From a Greek root meaning פזרנות ונדיבות, "largess and generosity," which we are requesting from Hashem. (Pri Megadim, second ...


5

As explained in אוצר מנהגי חב"ד, the practice in the main Shul in Lubavitch where the Rabbeim davened was not indicative of the official Chabad practice, but rather represented what the crowd chose to do. So whatever the practice was was not indicative of the actual position of the Rabbeim (i.e. what they would do in private). Often the Rabbeim would daven ...


5

I asked a fellow in Shul this morning this question, and he showed me a fascinating Medrash Raba. Medrash Raba Vayeira 56 third line from the top. Avaraham prayed at Mount Moriah after he was told not to sacrifice Yitzchak that Hashem should have Mercy on the Jews even if due to sin they are not deserving of it . ר' יוחנן אמר: אמר לפניו רבון העולמים בשעה ...


5

German Ashkenazim do not say on public fast days Avinu Malkeinu, and this was followed by the Ashkenazim of Austria-Hungary. See any Rödelheim or Schlesinger siddur for reference. Edit 12.07.2017: Since many started to discuss the details and exceptions regarding the Shabbat, I would like to add that I was not 100% precise. The very last verse of Avinu ...


5

I'm vaguely recalling what I had heard many years ago when I studied Nusach at the Belz School of Jewish music (part of Yeshiva University.) Cantor Beer taught the course on Selichot and he was (and still is) a maven on Tefillah history. He explained that beginning at Tzaddik Hashem bechol Derachav is a "recurring" theme for Selichot as well as the High ...


4

For more discussion, including a proper interpretation of Igros Moshe, see: Saying Selichot before Chatzot - Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 2:105 and Yechaveh Da'at 1:46 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 ...


4

Selichos is a prayer service that was not formalized until late in the Gaonic period. This means that there was already greater geographic diversity before any of the prayers were established. Before the gaonic period, only the viduy and 13 middot were 'required'. This is different than most other tefilot which already had a basis before the vast ...


4

There is no connection between Tachanun in Selichos to the regular Tachanun, as you can see that on Erev Rosh HaShana we say Tachanun in Selichos, yet we do not say Tachanun in Davening. The Tachanun we say by Davening is not said when there is a Sandek or mohel in the Shul, yet the Tachanun we say in Selichos, which has nothing to do with the Tachanun in ...


4

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, ...


4

All the slichot poems are called "slichot," but they can also have different names, based on their form, their subject matter, or their location in the davening. This answer is specific to Ashkenazi slichot. Pticha: the first piyyut in slichot, said to introduce the paragraph of ki al rachamecha harabbim. Often has one rhyme running through the whole thing,...


4

ELiyahu Ki Tov in Sefer Hatoda'ah (Book of Heritage) mentions that Elul is am "Et Ratzon" - a time of "acceptance"/ Therefore, this is an appropriate month to concentrate on Teshuva. Saying Selichot and increasing supplications is one means of doing this, but, going through the motions of saying the words of Selichot without feeling anything or encouraging ...


4

Selichot cannot be a Halachic Obligation (as defined by you as something that a Jew is obligated to do, according to Jewish law. This is in contrast to a minhag, which might be "good", "nice", or even "advisable", but not obligatory). The reason is that - as the Tur mentions in תקפ"א - that it was instituted by the Geonim and Rishonim. So until about 1,000 ...


4

ט אַל-תַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי, לְעֵת זִקְנָה; כִּכְלוֹת כֹּחִי, אַל-תַּעַזְבֵנִי 9 Cast me not off in the time of old age; when my strength faileth, forsake me not. י כִּי-אָמְרוּ אוֹיְבַי לִי; וְשֹׁמְרֵי נַפְשִׁי, נוֹעֲצוּ יַחְדָּו. For mine enemies speak concerning me, and they that watch for my soul take counsel together, ...


4

Yona 4, 3: ועתה יהוה, קח-נא את-נפשי ממני; כי טוב מותי מחיי: ‏ Therefore now, O Lord, take, I pray you, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Genesis 27, 46 (here the whish is conditional): וַתֹּ֤אמֶר רִבְקָה֙ אֶל־יִצְחָ֔ק קַ֣צְתִּי בְחַיַּ֔י מִפְּנֵ֖י בְּנ֣וֹת חֵ֑ת אִם־לֹקֵ֣חַ יַ֠עֲקֹ֠ב אִשָּׁ֨ה מִבְּנֽוֹת־חֵ֤ת ...


4

As you can see from the Tur 581 and his commentators and successors, the Elul/Tishrei Selichot are said pre-dawn as pre-dawn is an auspicious time for connecting with The Spiritual. (See the first Siman in O"C, for other examples of pre-dawn activities.) Recently these have been moved from pre-dawn to midnight, before Shacharit and other random/convenient ...


3

Great question! I do not know the history of its placement in the selichot (and I'm not familiar with the piyut since I recite the Sephardic selichot). Regarding its origin, I would guess it comes from Yeshayahu 62:6-7: עַל-חוֹמֹתַיִךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַם הִפְקַדְתִּי שֹׁמְרִים כָּל-הַיּוֹם וְכָל-הַלַּיְלָה תָּמִיד לֹא יֶחֱשׁוּ הַמַּזְכִּרִים אֶת-יי אַל-דֳּמִי ...


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