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Proper Time For Selichot

The Daily Halacha Moment - Time For Selichot 📙

‎״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


When is the most proper time to recite Selichot?


The best time to recite Selichot is after the nighttime chatzot.[1]

Before chatzot, one may not recite Selichot and the Thirteen Attributes (the Yud-Gimmel Middot). One who is praying with a minyan that recites the entire Selichot before chatzot should leave, since the minyan is not acting in accordance with Halachah. [2]

While one may not recite the Thirteen Middot before chatzot, one may begin Ashrei and other parts of Selichot that precede the recitation of the Thirteen Middot before chatzot, and then continue with the rest of Selichot after chatzot. [3] Some Ashkenazim rule that one may recite Selichot before chatzot.

Those who are unable to recite Selichot after chatzot or before Shacharit

may do so before Minchah. During such a recitation, the chazzan should preferably wear a tallit, especially if he is not wearing a suit jacket. [4]


[1]. Chazon Ovadia, Yamim Nora’im, p. 2, in the names of the Arizal and Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 1:1. See also Igrot Moshe, O.C. 2:105.

[2]. In regards to reciting Selichot before chatzot, the Arizal, as brought in Shaar HaKavanot, Derushei Tefillat Arvit, derush 1, says that Selichot should not be recited before chatzot. See also Magen Avraham 565:5 and Mishnah Berurah 565:12, which cite this ruling. This is also the ruling of Chazon Ovadia, Yamim Nora’im, p. 2; Yechaveh Daat 1:46; Yalkut Yosef, Yamim Nora’im, pages 3–5 & p. 18, 11; Torat HaMoadim, Yamim Nora’im, p. 5; and Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 1:1. See also Emek Yehoshua 2:43 and Halichot Shlomo, Rosh HaShanah, ch. 1, 12:4. This is unlike the opinion of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe, O.C. 2:105, who rules that one may even recite Selichot before chatzot. However, Chazon Ovadia, Yamim Nora’im, p. 2 adds that one may listen to Selichot on the radio or by recording to learn the tunes and be familiarized with the words before chatzot, since one’s intention is to learn it, and not to recite it.

[3]. See Yalkut Yosef, Yamim Nora’im, p. 19, which states that this was the custom of Chacham Ovadia Yosef. See also Halichot Shlomo, Moadim, p. 3, which is unlike the view of Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, 3:17, which states that one may not even begin Ashrei before chatzot.

[4]. Chazon Ovadia, Yamim Nora’im, pages 6 & 24; Torat HaMoadim, Yamim Nora’im, p. 6; Yalkut Yosef, Yamim Nora’im, p. 50. See also Ohr LeTzion, vol. 4, 1:1, which states that one should only recite Selichot before Minchah if there is really no other time.

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