Selichot

Selichot Quick Facts

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2017 Date:September 16, 2017
2018 Date:September 1, 2018

2017 Holidays & Dates

Selichot

Selichot History

Selichot (Hebrew: סליחות) means 'sorry/forgiveness prayers'.  Selichot are recited from the Sunday before the Jewish New Year until the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).  Selichot are aimed for both the individual and communities to atone their sins between man and God.  They are intended for Jews to reflect on their actions of the past year and to refrain from committing the same sins in the next New Year.

Selichot Facts

  • For many Orthodox Jews, Selichot prayers are added to the daily cycle of religious services.  Selichot are recited before normal daily shacharit (morning prayers) service.  They add about 45 minutes to the regular daily service in a typical service.
  • A fundamental part of selichot service is the repeated recitation of the Thirteen Attributes, a list of God's thirteen attributes of mercy that were revealed to Moses after the sin of the golden calf (Ex 34:6-7): Ha-shem [1], Ha-shem [2], God [3], merciful [4], and gracious [5], long-suffering [6], abundant in goodness [7] and truth [8], keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation [9], forgiving iniquity [10] and transgression [11] and sin [12], who cleanses [13].
  • This is the season to begin the process of asking forgiveness for wrongs done to other people.  According to Jewish tradition, God cannot forgive us for sins committed against another person until we have first obtained forgiveness from the person we have wronged.

  • Many of the Selichot prayers are in the form of a main Selichah (forgiveness) prayer and a Pizmon (chorus), which is repeated after each changing Selichah prayer. Some of these Selichot have cantorial music for the Selichah and a repeating tune for the chorus.

Selichot Top Events and Things to Do

  • Consider your position in life and ask God for forgiveness. Use this time to reset your daily habits and think how to change them to the better.
  • Use this period of time to forgive others and as well as ask others for forgiveness. This is often most difficult to do between life partners, parents and children.
  • Many people visit cemeteries at this time, because the awe-inspiring nature of this time makes us reflect on our own life, death, and mortality. Consider visiting the graves of your ancestors, soldiers, or anyone who may have made a positive impact on society.
  • Attend to a Selichot prayer ceremony or watch one on YouTube.  A popular Selichot rendition is by Yitzchak Meir Helfgot.

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