[Avodah] What is the preferable time to say selichos?

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Mon Aug 23 07:43:35 PDT 2021

On Mon, Aug 23, 2021 at 01:08:24PM +0000, Prof. L. Levine via Avodah wrote:
> From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis
> Q. What is preferable? To wake up early and recite Selichos before dawn
> (a.k.a. alos hashachar, which is 72 minutes before sunrise), or to stay
> up late and recite Selichos after chatzos (midnight)? What about saying
> selichos after alos or after neitz hachama (sunrise)?

Fine, I'll have to learn that "neitz hachamah" is accepted Yiddish /
Judeo-English. In Hebrew, the "ha-" of "haneitz" has a qamatz, it's
hif'il (= the causing of shining). After all, the AhS drops the hei.

Alos haChamah is 4 mil walking time before haneitz. which gives us
the first two possible opinions:
1- 72 min before -- what the OU assumes
2- 90 min before -- which would be against the Gra

Or, we assume that alos is defined by how much light is available, and
therefore it is only 4 mil before on a particular day of the year. Which
gets us
3- when the sun is 16.1 deg below the horizon -- true for 72 min before
   haneitz on the equionox in Y-m.

In short, the question of when alos is should be as unresolved as knowing
when tzeis would be.

> Even those who recommend saying selichos in early morning before sunrise
> agree that on the first night of Selichos, on Motzei Shabbos, it is
> preferable to recite Selichos after Chatzos. This is because we wish to
> combine the merit of Shabbos together with the first Selichos. Therefore,
> we begin Selichos after Chatzos, and do not wait for the early morning
> (Chashukei Chemed, ibid.).

I would have added that one of the Ashkenazi selichos for that night
actually opens BeMotza'ei Menuchah qadamnukha techilah. It seems tht the
fact of it being Motza"Sh is part of why we launch the whole series of
selichos just then. Beyond just the right time to say that particular

Tangent... I noticed that

When it comes to aveilus, Sepharadim only observe Shavua shechal bo and
their three week observance is only about not making weddings. While
Ashk have real aveilus customs the whole period.

Meanwhile when it comes to selichos, Sepharadim say them the whole month,
and it's Ashkenazim who only start at shavua shechal bo.

(Although in this case, there is a minimum of 4 times, so it can be up
to 10 days. Unlike the Seph mourning, which is fast day alone when the
9th of Av is Shabbos or Sunday.)

Anyone want to venture a theory as to what this says about Ashk vs Seph
hashkafic differences?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 If a person does not recognize one's own worth,
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   how can he appreciate the worth of another?
Author: Widen Your Tent                - Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye,
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                author of Toldos Yaakov Yosef

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