[Avodah] Which parts of Selichos must be omitted if a minyan is not present?

Danny Schoemann doniels at gmail.com
Tue Sep 15 06:38:38 PDT 2020

> Q. Which parts of Selichos must be omitted if a minyan is not present?
> A. Shulchan Aruch (OC 565:5) writes that the "Yud Gimmel Middos Harachamim"
> (thirteen attributes of mercy, Shemos 34:6-7) may not be recited unless there is a
> minyan. When these pesukim are recited in the context of prayer, they have the
> elevated  status of a "davar she'bikedusha," like Kaddish or Kedusha, that may only
> be said in the presence of a minyan.

I actually traced this back to its source - a new obsession of mine.

It's a Tur in 565 (Hil. Ta'anis). "Rav Nosson writes there's no Minhag
for an individual to say the 13 attributes." (Excuse the stilted
word-for-word translation).

The Tur then seems to make it clear that he's quoting this to ensure
people don't find this Rav Nosson and pasken like it:
"I don't know what the problem is since it's like saying Psukim, since
the Chachamim only say (not to say w/o a Minyan) a Dovor Shebikdusha
like Kaddish, Kedusha and Borchu"

(Who is this Rav Nosson? The only Rishon I could find by this name was
the Oruch.)

The Darkei Moshe injects (on Rav Nosson's statement) saying
"our Minhag is (for individuals) to say it, but not during the Shmoneh
Esre. The Mahr"iv quoting the O"Z says individuals should not say
(I.e. they used to say Selichos on Ta'anis during Chazoras haShatz.
Actually, we Yekkes still do.)

See it online at
- for those who can see the Hebrew:
, אורח חיים תקס״ה:ד׳:א
כתב רב נתן שאין מנהג ליחיד המתענה לומר י"ג מדות [ד] ואיני יודע מה חשש
יש בדבר שהרי אינו אלא כקורא בתורה שהרי לא אמרו חכמים אלא כל דבר
שבקדושה כגון קדיש וקדושה וברכו
דרכי משה: [ד] אבל ממנהגות שלנו דיכול לאומרה אבל לא יפסיק בהן בשמונה
עשרה כתב מהרי"ו בשם א"ז דאין ליחיד לומר סליחות

So the Tur and the Darkei Moshe both agree that an individual can say
the "Yud Gimmel Middos Harachamim".
The dissenting opinion says to skip Selichos altogether.

>From there it's all downhill. The common denominator being that all
Nosie Keilim seem to pasken like Rav Nosson and try to find

I find this fascinating. I wonder if the Tur now regrets ever
mentioning this opinion. :-)

Note that this is all mentioned in Hil. Ta'anis. In 581 where they
discuss Selichot during Elul, they ignore this topic completely.


- Danny

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