All summaries below are done to the best of my abilities and are for the purpose of informing and not paskening. In all cases, a posek should be consulted.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Selichot without a minyan - Yechaveh Daat 1:47

In this teshuva, Rav Ovadiah Yosef deals with the issue of saying the י"ג מידות הרחמים in selichot if there is no minyan present. The tradition to require a minyan for this crucial portion of selichot dates back to Rav Amram Gaon, and other than the Tur and Rabbeinu Yonah, it is fairly accepted as the prevailing practice. There are those who even classify it as a דבר שבקדושה, which necessitates a minyan.

However, in the event that a minyan is not present, Rav Yosef says that one can rely on the view of the Shulchan Aruch and others that allow one to recite these verses as if he is simply reading them like any other biblical verses, and to preferably do so with the proper cantillation. While there is one view that says that one cannot even do this and that an individual reciting these verses may only recite them in a coded fashion, Rav Yosef favors the view of the Shulchan Aruch.

In a footnote to this teshuva, Rav Yosef asks how we can recite the verses of the י"ג מידות, given that our recitation of them stops in the middle of a verse, thus violating the rule of כל פסוק דלא פסק משה אנן נמי לא פסקינן (for more on this topic, see my article here). Rav Yosef brings down views that claim that since it is being recited as part of davening, it is permissible to recite the partial verses. Even if an individual is reciting it, and thus is reciting it as if he is reading it, since it is permissible for a minyan to recite the partial verses in this situation, the same permission applies to an individual.

(Rav Yosef includes several other questions on this point, yet the answer is always essentially the same.)

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