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T H E YESH I VA PI RCH EI SH OSH AN I M PRESEN T S:
T H E ROADMAP T O PRAYER PROJECT
The Roadmap t o Prayer
Lesson 39
Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim 2006
This shiur may not be reproduced in any f orm without permission of the copyright holder
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Selichos: Get t ing Close t o
Hashem Again
D ovid H amel ech said: V aani Ki rvas E lok i m L i T ov (As f or me, being close to H ashem is
whats considered good). What K ing David (D ovi d H amelech) desired was only one
thing; to be close with H ashem. I n order to enjoy such a relationship, one must be
deserving of it by doing such deeds that develop ones closeness to H ashem and by
avoiding those transgressions that damage such a relationship. Sur M era V aassei Tov
(Avoid evil and do what is good). Yet, even af ter doing things that damage ones
relationship with H ashem, one can still do things to reestablish it and brings us close
to Him again. . Moses our Rabbis (M oshe Rabbei nus) prayer to H ashem af ter the sin
of the Golden Calf (E igel H azahav) was Please f orgive the sin of this nation (Selach
N ah L aavon H aam H azeh).
Rest ori ng t he Cl oseness: A Formi dabl e Task
Seli chos is a set of prayers recited in a very specif ic f ashion that we say on dif ferent
occasions during the course of the year. We generally associate the exercise of
reciting Sel i chos as part of the Teshuvah (repentance) process. I n truth, although it is
correctly associated with the process of T eshuvah, it can more accurately be def ined
as the process of reestablishing good f avor with our Creator.
But, theres another aspect to this as well. We are expected to perf ect ourselves to
the best of our ability and strive to attain greater levels of spirituality in order to
achieve the greatest degree of closeness with H ashem as possible. Attaining Sel i cha is
not just to be f orgiven; rather it is a process of mending a broken relationship and
building it back up again. This can be compared to one who demolishes a perf ectly
f unctional and usef ul edif ice. I ts not suf f icient for one just to remove the
destruction and rubble one created; rather it is necessary also to reconstruct the
edifice, a brick at a time. Only then can one begin to consider ones destructive
action, as being rectif ied. Even after reconstructing its outer structure, the inside of
the edif ice, its tenant s and vendors still need to be restored. Even with their
restoration, it may be impossible to remedy the loss of revenue caused during the
interim.
Lesson
39
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Likewise, one who committed a sin, not only must he distance himself from
repeating it, he must also contemplate the damage that was caused and what it will
take to restore all aspects and all the consequences of his sinf ul act. Besides f or
asking H ashems f orgiveness, one must seek ways to re-establish ones original
relationship with H ashem.
The Rambam
1
writes that the perfect situation of Teshuvah is if one would f ind
himself in the very same situation again and avoids committing it again, then it is
considered to have reached a level of perf ect ion in ones T eshuvah. I n order to attain
a perf ect T eshuvah, one must sincerely accept upon himself never to repeat the sin
again. One must have regret and remorse for committing the sin to the point that
G-d Himself bears witness that he would never commit the sin again.
Perfect i on: An Expect at i on
One may think that its to no avail to seek perfection in ones lif e when mediocrity
would be f ar better than most people who follow a completely diff erent set of
ideals and morals? Rav M oshe Chaim L uzatto addresses this issue in his classic work
M essi l as Y eshari m (The Path of the Just)
2
. He explains that people are basically lazy
when they shrug of f their duties and perf orm them haphazardly. Their excuse that
what they do is suff icient even if it wont bring them great reward, at least what they
do is noteworthy and better than what others do. He reminds them that in daily
matters, we have a dif f erent outlook. When we see people honoring others whom
we view less deserving than ourselves, we f eel jealous and even angry at them for
no real reason. I f this is our reaction to temporal expressions of respect, how much
more so will our f eelings of despondency really matter to us when the true honor is
displayed to others whom we viewed as less prominent than ourselves, in the Word
to Come (Olam H aba)? Therefore, people should realize that it is incumbent on
them to do things wholeheartedly and to the best of their ability.
Accordingly, when one starts repenting f or ones wrongdoings, one must seek ways
to rectif y them by repenting and conf essing ones sins, begging H ashem f or
f orgiveness and seek ways with which to reestablish his good standing with Him. I n
order to accomplish this, one needs to always f ocus on the mistakes that led to his
misdeeds in order to ensure that they dont happen again and to show his true
remorse for doing them in the f irst place. This then will lead one to a renewed
1
H ilchos T eshuva Perek 2 H alacha 1 & 2
2
Chapter 4
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ef f ort and concentration in perf orming ones duties towards his Creator and f inding
f avor in His eyes again. This process is what we know today as Seli chos.
Vayomer H ashem: S alachti K idvarecha
A nd G-d said [to Moshe Rabbeinu] I forgive [them] as you
requested
3
The Abundant Sel i cha Prayers
Now that we explained the meaning of Sel i cha, it is easier f or us to understand and
to appreciate the many days and weeks we spend reciting Seli chos bef ore Rosh
H ashanah and beyond. The numerous days that we spend reciting Sel i chos prayers are
meant to arouse us to examine our deeds and express our remorse for all our
f ailings in f ulfilling our duties in serving H ashem. Each of the Sel i cha prayers f ocuses
on specif ic f eelings of remorse and expressions of yearning of reestablishing our
connection with H ashem our G-d. This is truly a lif elong process which D ovi d
H amel ech himself expressed in many Psalms how he felt f or just one transgression
which he felt that he was guilty of , even though according to the teachings of our
Sages it wasnt a true transgression.
How Selichos Developed
I t is interesting to note that the various customs regarding the recitation of Seli chos
during this time of year began sometime during the period of the Geoni m as we will
see in the f ollowing sources. From that time forward, additional Pi yuti m (prayers
composed various styles of rhymes and refrains, were composed and added to the
Seli chos at dif f erent point s in history by various authors who are ref erred to as
Payt anim. The Ben I sh Chai
4
in his Responsa T orah L i shma
5
points out that the Sel i chos
prayers were not set by the Men of the Great Assembly (A nshei Knesses H agedolah)
like Shemoneh E srei . Rather, it evolved over time through Payt anim spanning
generations. Although Sephardim say Seli chot f or a longer period of time, the
Ashkenazic versions of Sel i chos contain a much greater array of dif f erent Pi yuti m of
Seli chos prayers. We will elaborate some more about the background of the Seli chos
prayers later on in these lessons.
3
Bamidbar 14:20.
o: " u:a+ p:o u pco n :o:n :o: n ' n:o:5 uya: u - :n:o ) nno a: , : ( nny n:y : n ' : n:o5 . nna y n:
na5yn: uya: u . xn: u:5 5a " u aa . no n:y n:noa :oy nna , a ua nx:n: o+pn |:a n ::o: :n : non:
) u:a+ , ( :co |: :o nn: , noy +y uya: u , xn: u:5 ua u:o5n . a ua nx:n: apn " n ::o: nnnoa :n : non:
) :a+na + , 5 ( nn:c |:a+5 . |5: yapn n:nn: nn:c: . :n nx:n:o x:a u:o , :n:o uya:a :o nn: n::n ) u:a+ , (
5: n+ny :na un5 u:o:n , nn u:o:n x:a u::n x:a , :n nnyn uyxn n cy5a :
4
Rav Moshe Chaim ztl , Sephardic leader in Baghdad
5
Simon 49
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The Mont h of Elul:
The St art of Selichos (Sephardim)
There are various M i nhagi m (customs) as to when we begin reciting Seli chos during
the Rosh H ashanah, Y om Ki ppur season.
The T ur in Orach Chai m Si mon 581 points out that in some communities Seli chos
begins at the beginning of the month of E lul and continues until Y om Ki ppur. This
corresponds with the f inal 40-day period that M oshe Rabbei nu went up to the
mountain (Mt. Sinai) to plead f or the Bnei Y israel to regain their good standing after
their devastating sin by the E igel H azahav (the Golden Calf ). That period culminated
on Y om Ki ppur with M oshe Rabbei nu returning with G-ds f orgiveness and the second
set of L uchos (the Tablets bearing the 10 commandments).
According to this custom, Sel i chos only begins the day af ter Rosh Chodesh, since on
Rosh Chodesh itself, we do not recite Seli chos as it is considered a minor holiday. Since
Seli chos speaks of sin and begging f orgiveness, we ref rain f rom reciting Seli chos on
Shabbos or Y om T ov which are meant to be joyous days.
The M echaber writes that the prevalent custom in the communities he lived in was to
start reciting Seli chos f rom the beginning of E lul . Nowadays too, Sephardic
communities around the world, herald in the holy days of the months of E lul and
T i shrei with an ent ire month of Sel i chot
6
. During this entire period of Sel ichot prayers,
the Sephardic custom is to recite the same Sel i chot every single day. D uring the
A seres Y emei T eshuvah, some additional pieces are inserted into the regular daily order
of Sel i chot; other than that, the Sel i chot are the same all the time. The Seli chot are most
commonly done with the Chazzan alternating with the congregants in reciting parts
of each verse.
St art i ng Sel i chos duri ng Aseres Yemei Teshuvah
The Rambam
7
, the Rosh and the T ur cite that the custom of the T wo Y eshi vos
8
was to
begin reciting Seli chos during the A seres Y emei T eshuvah, bet ween Rosh H ashanah and
Y om Ki ppur.
6
We wll use this spelling when ref erring to the Sephardic version and the word Seli chos when ref erring to the
Ashkenaz version alone or when referring to both
7
H ilchos T eshuvah
8
Sura and Pumpedusa in ancient Babylon
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The Cust om of St art i ng Sel i c hos from t he 15
th
of El ul and Ot her
Cust oms
I n the Si ddur of Rav A mram Gaon it ment ions a M i nhag (custom) was to begin
reciting Sel i chos f rom the f if teenth of E lul and on. This custom is also mentioned by
A budraham.
The Ran to the Gemara in Rosh H ashanah
9
cites the custom in Barcelona was to begin
Seli chos on the twenty-f if th day of E lul, corresponding to the day H ashem began
Creation
10
. Even according to this reason, we always begin Sel i chos at the beginning
of that week to keep things uniform so that people wont make a mistake when to
start reciting Seli chos
11
. Since Rosh H ashanah according to our calendar, cannot f all on
Sundays, Wednesday and Fridays, when the twenty-f if th is on Sunday, we begin on
that day giving us f our days of Sel i chos up to Rosh H ashanah which is on Thursday,
and the second day Rosh H ashanah will concur with the day that A dam H ari shon
sinned.
The Cust om of Ashkenazic Jewr y
The f inal mi nhag (custom) is the prevailing custom amongst Ashkenazic Jewry
today, which is to begin reciting Seli chos on the Sunday right bef ore Rosh H ashanah.
This works out only when Rosh H ashanah begins on Thursday or Shabbos and there
will be at least 4 days of Sel i chos bef ore Rosh H ashanah. I f however, Rosh H ashanah
begins on a Monday or Tuesday, then Sel i chos begins the previous week on Sunday.
According to our set calendar system, Rosh H ashanah never begins on a Sunday,
Wednesday or Friday
12
.
The Mi nhag of Barcel ona and Ashkenaz
The Ran in his comment ary to the Gemara in Rosh H ashanah
13
cites the custom in
Barcelona was to begin Sel i chos on the twenty-f if th day of E lul, giving us 5 days of
special prayers bef ore Rosh H ashanah, the D ay of Judgment. The twenty-f if th day of
9
D af 16a
10
M ateh E phraim cites another mi nhag that privately recited one section each day f rom the beginning of Parshas
Berei shi s, reading one day of Creation a day, until Rosh H ashanah.
11
Biur H aGra Simon 581
12
+ : " o:
13
D af 16a
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E lul corresponds to the day H ashem began Creation
14
, while Rosh H ashanah, the Day
of Judgment corresponds to the day Adam was created.
At f irst glance, it appears that the above custom does not concur with the custom
of Ashkenaz cited by the Rama. The Gra however, explains that this mi nhag is the
basis f or the Ashkenaz custom of start ing Sel i chos on the Sunday bef ore Rosh
H ashanah. He explains that the Ran ment ioned that according to this custom, we
always begin Sel i chos at the beginning of the week, to keep things unif orm so that
people wont make a mistake when to start reciting Sel i chos.
Accordingly, when Rosh H ashanah is on Thursday
15
, the twenty-f if th is on Sunday,
we begin on that day, giving us 5 days of special prayer corresponding to the f ive
days until Adams creation on the 6
th
day. 4 days of Seli chos up to Rosh H ashanah plus
the f irst day Rosh H ashanah itself which is on Thursday; gives us 5 days in total until
the second day of Rosh H ashanah which will correspond to the day that Adam was
created, which was Friday
16
. However, when Rosh H ashanah is on Monday or
Tuesday, we start Sunday the week before in order to have at least 5 days of special
prayers bef ore Rosh H ashanah. This is the explanation of the custom of Ashkenaz
that the Rama cites.
The Cust om t o Fast
The Rama
17
mentions that it was common for pious individuals to f ast a total of 10
days up until and including Y om Ki ppur
18
. Since 4 of the A seres Y emei T eshuvah days
are either Shabbos, Y om T ov or E rev Y om Ki ppur, days on which one is not allowed
to f ast, we begin reciting Seli chos at least 4 days in advance of Rosh H ashanah to make
up f or the 4 missing days out of 10 days of f asting corresponding to the A seres
Y emei T eshuvah.
Another custom was that whoever was the Shali ach T zi bbur f or Seli chos prayers
should also be the Shali ach T zi bbur f or the rest of the days prayers (tefi l l os). This was
14
M ateh E phraim cites another mi nhag that privately recited one section each day f rom the beginning of Parshas
Berei shi s, reading one day of Creation a day, until Rosh H ashanah.
15
According to our calendar, Rosh H ashanah cannot begin on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday
16
Biur H aGra Simon 581
17
Simon580
18
Rama 581:2
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mainly because the one who was the Chazzan f or Seli chos itself would be f asting all
day
19
.
Nowadays, most people do not have the mi nhag (custom) to f ast because of the
weaker stamina of our generation when it comes to f asting. Nonetheless, since the
main reason to f ast is to examine our deeds and better our ways, one should at least
begin introspecting and examine how to be better ones service of G-d (A vodas
H ashem) during these 4 days bef ore Rosh H ashanah.
Li ke a Korban - Sacri fi ce
Another explanation why Seli chos is always a minimum of 4 days bef ore Rosh
H ashanah is f or the f ollowing reason. I n general, the Torah uses the verb
V ehi k ravtem (and you will bring close i.e. of f er a sacrif ice) f or Korbanos. On Rosh
H ashanah the Torah uses the verb V aasi sem (and you shall make). I n Hebrew this
means that one should imagine himself as a Korban (sacrif ice), to become humbled
and remorsef ul f or any sin or iniquity. Following this thought, one should recite
Seli chos to f ocus on the upcoming D ay of Judgment f or a period of at least 4 days just
like the daily animal of f erings were checked f or blemishes, 4 days prior to their
being brought as a Korban. By shif ting ones f ocus to prepare oneself f or Rosh
H ashanah, one will be better prepared f or the upcoming Ten Days of Repentance
(A seres Y emei Teshuvah) to merit another year of lif e devoted to G-d and His Torah.
A Hi nt in t he Parsha for t he St art of Sel i chos (Ashkenaz)
A ttem N i tzavi m H ayome (Youre standing today). These words are the opening words
that M oshe Rabbei nu used to address Bnei Y i srael towards the end of his lif e, at the
beginning of Parshas N etzavi m. The numerical value of the words A ttem N i tzavi m
H ayome (Youre standing today) in Hebrew has the same numerical value as L aamod
L i Seli chos (Arise to Sel i chos) (694). When Rosh H ashanah f alls on a Thursday or
Shabbos then Parshas (Torah Portion of ) N i tzavi m is read on the Shabbos in the
morning bef ore the start of Seli chos; its opening words serve us a reminder to recite
Seli chos right af ter Shabbos. However, when Rosh H ashanah f alls on a Monday or
Tuesday, then Parshas N i tzavi m will be read on the Shabbos in middle of Seli chos. Still
Parshas N itzavi m is read in part for the f irst time on the previous Shabbos by M i ncha
in the af ternoon which comes right bef ore Seli chos, reminding us to get up f or
Seli chos.
On Mot zei Shabbos
T he L ek et Y osher adds that the Sefer Terumas H adeshen writes that we particularly want
to begin reciting the f irst Seli chos on Motzei Shabbos in order to reap the benef it of
19
E l ya Rabba 581
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the emotional joy and serenity we gained in our observance of Shabbos, from its
inherent sanctity and the increased Torah study we put f orth. This allows us to
benef it best from our closeness to H ashem on Shabbos, which we wish to develop
f urther through our Sel i chos prayers.
For this reason too, its best to wait at least until after Chatzos (H al achi c midnight) to
recite Seli chos according to the Sefer H amussar
20
. He writes that during the f irst part of
the night, a person is usually not f eeling well because of the change of diet of
Shabbos. By the time it is Chatzos (H al achi c midnight), one is more ref reshed, relaxed
and better capable of concentrating on the Seli chos prayers. Chatzos L ayl a (H alachic
mi dni ght) is also the time that D ovi d H amelech chose to arise each night and sing the
praises of T ehi lli m to H ashem. Anytime one arises at Chatzos (H al achi c midnight) to
pray (daven) to H ashem, his Tefi llos are sure to be answered.
The Proper Ti me of Day t o Reci t e Sel i chos
The H al acha regarding the proper time f or Sel i chos each day varies amongst the
Rabbinical Authorities (Posk i m). An optimal time f or reciting Seli chos is during the
last three hours of the night
21
. This is the time that H ashem f lies around this world
22
(i.e. so to speak, He makes himself available). I t is pref erable to recite it close to
Dawn (A l os H ashachar) so that one reaches Shemoneh E srei of Shachari s at sunrise
(H aN ei tz H achamah). When Seli chos start ed bef ore Dawn (A los H ashachar), there is no
issue reciting the Pi zmon which mentions our crying out to H ashem when its still
night
23
, since some of the prayers were recited during the nighttime before Dawn
(A l os)
24
. Otherwise, one must be caref ul not to say a lie, and one must change the
language of that prayer to ref lect that Seli chos only began in the morning. Still,
anyone that cannot recite Sel i chos at these times should still recite the Seli chos at a
later time that morning. I f necessary, one should recite Sel i chos even after Chatzos of
the day (H alachi c noon), until M i ncha time in the evening
25
.
20
Circa 5300 (presently we are in 5766)
21
M ateh E phraim 581:11
22
Gemara A vodah Z ara D af 3b
23
First day Selichos prayers
24
E l ef L amateh 581:11
25
Y alk ut Y osef H ilchos Seli chos seif 2
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Earl i est Ti me for Sel i chos
Seli chos may be said as early as midnight but not any earlier since one may not recite
the T hi rteen A ttri butes of M ercy bef ore that time. The T hi rteen A ttri butes of M ercy are
required to be recited at a time that is considered desirable to H ashem which is after
Chatzos (H al achi c midnight). Reciting it at Chatzos (H al achi c midnight) is also
considered an optimal time f or reciting Seli chos. Some opinions allow reciting Seli chos
even bef ore Chatzos (H alachi c mi dni ght) if there is a pressing need. This leniency is
only if one begins reciting the Sel i chos at the point when the second third of the
night begins, which is the start of the middle A shmora
26
(watch). Theref ore, when
necessary, one may recite the entire order of Seli chos about two hours bef ore Chatzos
(H al achi c midnight)
27
. However, on Motzei Shabbos there is an additional
restriction not to recite any of the Sel i chos prayers, because the sanctity of Shabbos
lingers until af ter Chatzos (H al achi c midnight)
28
. Similarly, Sephardi m who begin
reciting Sel ichos f rom the beginning of the month of E lul, only begin the day af ter
Rosh Chodesh because we ref rain f rom reciting Sel i chos on any f estive day and Rosh
Chodesh is such a day.
Cal cul at i ng Chat zos Layl a
I n order to calculate when Chatzos L ayla (H alachi c midnight ) will
be, one must f irst determine when sunrise (N ei tz H achama) and
sunset (Shek i ah) in ones location. Af ter determining this, Rav
Ovadiah Y osef shl i ta has a simple calculation f or Chatzos L ayla
(Halachic midnight). All one has to do is to f igure out what time
is H al achi c N oon and add 12 hours to that.
Although the best time f or Seli chos is during the latter part of the night , one who
cant say it then should still say it during the daytime. Although it is best to recite
Seli chos and the T hi rteen A ttri butes of M ercy during the latter part of the night, it is still
acceptable to recite Seli chos during the daytime since this time of year, starting f rom
the beginning of E lul until af ter Y om Ki ppur is a time that H ashem desires our prayers
(tefi llos) and accepts them willingly.
26
The Gemara in Berachos states that the night is divided into three M ishmoros (Three watches). During the first
M ishmor
27
M ishmeros Shal om 41:4 (K oidenov), I ggros M osheOrach Chaim Volume 2:105. Rav Ovadiah Y osef shl ita disagrees
with this ruling.
28
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Torah St udy, Ti kkun Chat zos and Sel i chos
The Shaarei T eshuvah
29
writes that one who wishes to utilize the time for Sel i chos f or
Torah study instead, disassociates himself f rom the Congregation (T zi bbur), and is
doing something wrong and sinf ul
30
. The Bi rchei Y osef attests that he knew great
Talmudic scholars, and prolific writers of novel l ae, who gave up their precious time
to devote time to reciting prayers and ent reaties
31
.
One, who is accustomed to recite T i k k un Chatzos
32
daily, should continue to do so
even if this will cause him to miss reciting Seli chos with a M i nyan, or even
completely
33
.
I t is important f or us to recognize the magnitude of the Sel i chos prayers. We see that
even T almi dei Chachami m (Talmudic scholars) take time out f rom their precious
learning schedules to recite Seli chos. The Sefer (book) Seder H ayom emphasizes that
although the import ance of Torah study generally exceeds all other M i tzvos, one is
still required to recite Sel i chos during this time of the year f or it has great inf luence.
The time f or Torah is set aside and the time for prayer is set aside . The T almi d
Chacham is doubly obligated since he can use his power of Torah to enhance his
power of Prayer to intercede on the behalf of his brethren to merit a good, healthy,
and productive year, in spirit and in body.
On the other hand, Rav Ovadi ah Y osef shli ta rules that if getting up each day of Seli chot
during the entire month of E lul will cause a tremendous strain on a rebbe (teacher
of Torah) or a student in a yeshiva, causing him to lose out on his teaching or
learning abilities, he shouldnt do it. Likewise an employee who f inds that the long
early Seli chos schedule interf eres with his work obligations to his employer, he too
should minimize the amount of times he wakes up early f or Seli chot. Since reciting
Seli chot during E lul is only a mi nhag (custom) amongst some Sephardi m, one should
minimize the amount of times one arises f or Sel i chot in order not to interf ere with
his other obligations. However, during the A seres Y emei T eshuvah, f rom the day af ter
Rosh H ashanah until Y om Ki ppur, one should def initely go to Seli chos then, since that
is agreed by all to be the main time f or reciting Seli chot. I n addition one should also
29
I bid.
30
M ateh E phraim ibid.
31
Beer H eitev 581:1
32
This is a special prayer that is said at about midnight during the course of the year lamenting the destruction of
the Beis H amik dash
33
I bid.
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try to get up for Sel ichot on Mondays and Thursdays during the month of E lul, since
they are the days of the week that are generally good f or prayers, just like during the
year we recite the additional V eH u Rachum prayer on Mondays and Thursdays af ter
Chazoras H ashatz (the Chazzans repeat of Shemoneh E srei) of Shachari s.
Although we mentioned that a T almi d Chacham is obligated to give up from his
learning in order to recite Seli chos that is only when the time that is lost is limited to
the amount of time spent on Seli chos. However, in the case we are discussing, the
early Seli chos takes its toll and causes countless additional time to be lost the rest of
the day f rom ones teaching or learning. I n this case it is bett er to minimize the
amount of Sel ichos one will say.
Y E S H I V A P I R C H E I S H O S H A N I M : R O A D M A P T O P R A Y E R P R O J E C T
S E L I C H O S Q U E S T I O N S E P I R C H E I S H O S H A N I M R O A D M A P
T O P R A Y E R O J E C T
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Quest ions:
1) What should one f ocus on accomplishing by reciting Sel ichos?
2) What does Rav M oshe Chaim L uzatto write about people who are satisf ied with
mediocrity in their level of service to H ashem?
3) How does the Rambam describe the perf ect T eshuvah?
4) Why do we recite so many Sel i chos?
5) When did the custom of reciting Sel i chos originate?
6) What is the reason f or starting Sel i chot at the beginning of the month of E lul?
When does Sel i chos start according to this custom?
7) Who f ollows this custom nowadays and how are the Seli chos divided amongst
the days of the month?
8) What is the next most common custom f or beginning Seli chos and who f ollows
that custom?
9) Where do we f ind a hint in the Torah for this custom?
10) What was the common custom of f asting during this time of the year?
11) I f one needs to choose between reciting T i k k un Chat zos or Seli chos, which is
more important for him to say?
12) When would we allow one to ref rain f rom reciting Selichot with the tzi bbur if it
interf eres with ones Torah study schedule?
Y E S H I V A P I R C H E I S H O S H A N I M : R O A D M A P T O P R A Y E R P R O J E C T
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Answers:
1) Besides f or attaining f orgiveness one should f ocus on building up ones
relationship with H ashem and gaining f avor in H ashems eyes through f ulf illing
the His Torah and M i tzvos.
2) He shows that people who are satisf ied with mediocrity in Service of G-d
(A vodas H ashem) are generally not satisf ied with the same in material possessions
and honor.
3) The Rambam writes that the perf ect T eshuvah is when one has remorse and
regret f or doing a sin to the point that if the opport unity to sin presents itself
again in the exact same manner, one wouldnt repeat it. This resolve must be so
strong that H ashem testif ies that this person wouldnt repeat the sin again.
4) We recite many Seli chos f or many days to arouse ourselves to improve our
Service of G-d (A vodas H ashem).
5) I t originated in the time of the Geoni m and developed over a long period of
time with dif ferent Paytani m adding pieces to the Sel i chos.
6) The reason to start Seli chot f rom the beginning of E lul is because that is when
M oshe Rabbei nu ascended onto Mt. Sinai to receive the second L uchos and
atonement f or the Sin of the Golden Calf (Chet H aE i gel H azhav).
7) Sephardim f ollow this custom nowadays. They begin reciting Sel i chot the day
af ter Rosh Chodesh E l ul . The same Seli chot are repeated daily throughout the
ent ire month of E lul, with just a f ew pieces added into the existing Sel i chos
during A seres Y emei Teshuvah.
8) The next most common custom is to start reciting Sel i chos on the Sunday bef ore
Rosh H ashanah, when there are at least f our days until Rosh H ashanah. This is the
prevalent custom of Ashkenazic Jewry.
9) I n Parshas N et zavi m the Torah Portion of the week coinciding with the
beginning of Sel i chos according to Ashkenaz, the portion begins with the words
A ttem N itzavim H ayome (Youre standing today) which hash the same numerical
value as L aamod L i Seli chos (Arise to Sel i chos) (694).
10) I t was common to f ast 10 days during the time of Seli chos corresponding to
A seres Y emei T eshuvah.
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11) I t is more important that he say T i k k un Chatzos.
12) One who f inds it too dif f icult to get up f or Sel i chos during the entire E lul and it
would cause him to diminish the amount of time he has f or Torah study
outside of the time spent on praying Seli chot itself , is allowed to skip Sel i chot. He
should however try to at least recite Sel i chot on Mondays and Thursdays. During
A seres Y emei T eshuvah itself he must recite the Sel i chot regardless.