A History of Selichot
Every year prior to Rosh Hashanah Jews say special prayers called Selichot. Depending on the tradition some start a month before and some start within the week before the New year. Join Rabbi David Sedley as he explores the origins of Selichot and why they are an important addition to preparing for the Yamim Noraim.
A History of Selichot: Rabbi Elazar HaKalir
Although he did not compose the selichot that we say today, the approach and style of Rabbi Elazar HaKalir was the basis for most of the selichot.
We do not know when he lived, though likely in the sixth century, and possibly in the second.
His poetic, allegorical style was both praised and criticized.
And he wrote many of the Kinot that we say on Tisha B’Av as well as several of the yotzerot we recite on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, along with the prayers for rain and dew.
A History of Selichot: Thirteen Middot
The Thirteen Middot are the essence of Selichot. And in that sense, Selichot are preparation for Neila, where the Thirteen Middot also feature prominently.
In this class, we look at the structure of Selichot and the context and meaning of the Thirteen Middot of Mercy (Rachamim).
A History of Selichot: Shelomo HaBavli and Shelomo ibn Gabirol
A History of Selichot: Rabbeinu Gershom, author of Zechor Brit
Rabbeinu Gershom is one of the most foundational rabbis in European Jewish history. We do not know very much about his life, but his influence is still felt to this day.
He is the author of several selichot, including “Zechor Brit” which speaks of the death and destruction caused by the exile.
In this class we look at his influence, his style of learning and his teachings.
Rabbi David Sedley lives in Jerusalem with his wife and six children. He was born and raised in New Zealand before making Aliya in 1992. He left Israel temporarily (for eight years) to serve as a communal Rabbi in Scotland and England and returned to Israel in 2004. He has translated Rabbeinu Yonah's commentary on Pirkei Avos and is the co-author of Sefiros: Spiritual Refinement Through Counting the Omer (both Judaica Press). Over the years Rabbi Sedley has worked as a journalist, a translator, a video director and in online reputation management. He also writes a weekly Torah blog on the Times of Israel.