What the Heck is Selichot???

Selichot – A Ritual of Preparing for the High Holy Days


An important Jewish belief is that God wishes us to turn away from sin and that God helps us to do so.  The High Holy Days focus almost exclusively on this idea, which is called “teshuvah,” a Hebrew word that means “turning away from sin.”


Many Jews prepare spiritually for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by attending a special service called “Selichot” (forgiveness).  Prayers of forgiveness are added to the daily cycle of religious services.  The Selichot service is designed to help worshipers direct their hearts and minds to the process of teshuvah.


At the Selichot service, worshipers begin to examine their deeds of the past year, seeking forgiveness from God, and promising to improve their behavior in the New Year.  Some of the prayers and music for the Selichot service are taken from the services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  This provides a musical transition between the “old year” and the New Year. The first selichot service of the holiday season is usually a large community service held on the Saturday evening before Rosh Hashanah.

Speak Your Mind