The selichot in the Tunisian rite

A selection of selichot performed by Raphael Ebgui, Avishay Levi, Arie Ovadia, Yaniv Ben Mashiah and Doudou Derhy


The selichot are penitential prayers in which the worshipper implores forgiveness to God for the sins committed. This tradition is based on the thirteen attributes of mercy which have been, according to the tradition, passed on from God to Moses. (Exodus 34, 6-7).
In the beginning, the selichot were read during Yom Kippur service and for fasts. Then this tradition took place during the 10 days (yamim noraïm) between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Ashkenazi communities and the Chasidim start reciting the selichot on saturday evening preceding (for at least four days) Rosh Hashanah service. The Sefardi communities read it at dawn before the morning prayer for forty days, starting on the first of Elul.

The following playlist features a selection of selichot performed in the various versions of the Tunisian rite. It is in Tunis and Djerba that we still find today the biggest Jewish communities, communities of which we associate the names of paytanim (authors of religious poetry) and singers, such as Yaakov Bchiri or Raoul Journo.
Let us notice that the rite from Tunis was influenced by the Oranese tradition, which takes its roots from the Spanish Judaism of the end of the 15th century, and the Italian Judaism from the 18th century (the Granas of Livourne). The Djerbian rite has been influenced by traditions from Libya and Egypt.

Read the feature article on Selihot
Listen to the playlist Songs of the Jewish people from Tunisia 1
Listen to the playlist Songs of the Jewish people from Tunisia 2

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