The selichot in the Western Ashkenazi rite

A selection of selichot performed by Adolphe Attia, Joseph Borin, Michel Heymann, Emile Kaçmann, Samuel Lison and Max Warchawski

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 mainly sung in the Ashkanzi communities of Alsace-Lorraine by (Joseph Borin, Michel Heymann, Samuel Lison, Max Warchawski) – and in Paris by (Adolphe Attia, Emile Kaçmann). There are also field recordings, educational recordings for liturgy and concerts. In this last category, the singers benefit of an instrumental accompaniment, which is generally absent in the religious services of orthodox synagogues.

Read the feature article on Selichot

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