As the seasons change, and summer transitions into fall, the Yamim Noraim, High Holy Days period, is once again on our minds. It is unquestionable that this time period, with all the preparation that goes into Rosh Hashanah, and the intensity of the Yom Kippur experience, is the source of much anticipation or even angst on the behalf of many people.
However, in truth the preparations for the High Holy Days begin at the beginning of the preceding Hebrew month, the month of Ellul, as we begin blowing Shofar every morning following Shacharit, and eventually begin saying the Selichot prayers preceding Shacharit.
The term "Selichot" is derived from the Hebrew word for "pardon", or "forgiveness"- "selichah". This is the time period when we once again begin to appreciate that we are human, prone to make mistakes, and always in need for Divine forgiveness. By saying Selichot every morning, we are gradually reinvigorating the deep connection that bridges us with the Divine as we approach the High Holy Day season. It may not always be easy to wake ourselves a few minutes early from our slumber to come to davening early to say the Selichot prayers. Nevertheless, the connection between the Jewish people and their Creator that these prayers afford us is surely worth missing out on the few extra minutes of sleep.
Selichot prayers begin this year on Sunday morning, September 22nd, at 7:30 a.m. I look forward to seeing you there.
All the Best,
Rabbi Peretz Robinson