Saturday, August 31, 2013

Getting Selichot

My apologies for not sharing or publishing more often, but the blog as been unofficially been put "on hold" and I hope to have more clarity of the future of this resource in the new Jewish Year (if you like or feel strongly about this blog, please feel free to comment and/or share so that I can pass on the feedback).

However I did not want to miss the opportunity to share a wonderful perspective on selichot - which begin for Ashkanzim tonight, the motzai Shabbat before Rosh Hashana. Rabbi Benny Lau made a fascinating point this evening about the uniqueness of the selichot service.

There are specific rules governing tefilla, which often call upon a rabbi or gabbai to arbitrate what should be said under specific circumstances.  One such questions arises regarding the kaddish titkabel - the full kaddish. Rav Benny noted that this is only said after davening the Amidah - which the gemara really considers tefilla.  Interestingly, kaddish titkabel is said at the end of the selichot service, despite the very absence of the Amidah.  His argument was that we are to treat this service with the similar level of preparation and intensity, as the structural hope of the kaddish asks for Hashem to receive (titkabel) the requests and prayers, and follows with our desire for peace to come upon us and all of Israel.  Rav Benny cited a source (I think the Levush Malchut) arguing that selichot are structured like a normal mincha service, starting with ashrei, followed but a hatzi kaddish, and ending with tachanun and then kaddish titkabel. The motivational goal here is for each of us to reapproach our selcihot to the core text, the 13 attributes and to see them as an opportunity to a recharge our divine sparks.

I want to humbly add on to Rav Benny's words by noting that the essence of Neilla on Yom Kippur is the furious recitation of selichot and our plea's for mercy rooted in the heritage of the covenant of the 13 attributes as the gates of the day close.

I hope that you have a meaningful preparation for the High Holy Days.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry this will be "on hold." I have found that one of the best ways to improve in kavana in tefila is to read or think about it regularly, and this has been a helpful resource.