11 septiembre 2009


Coming from the Hebrew word for “forgiveness” and a liturgical poem whose subject is a plea for the forgiveness of sins, Selichot is a service of penitential prayers that are recited on all fast days, periods of special intercession and during the penitential season, which begins before Rosh Hashanah and concludes with Yom Kippur.

The Sephardic community recites the Selichotfor the 40 days from the first of Elul (the month before Tishrei, the beginning of the Jewish New Year) to the Day of Atonement. The Ashkenazic community, on the other hand, begins reciting the prayers on the Sunday before Rosh Hashanah. In America, a late Saturday evening service has become the customary practice. The liturgy and music of the Selichot service are intended to instill a mood of solemnity that serves as a prelude to the sacred themes of the High Holy Day season.

Originally, the Selichot service consisted of several groups of biblical verses, each culminating in the recitation of the Lord’s 13 attributes enumerated in Exodus 34:6. In Geonic times (the sixth to the 12th century), the service was expanded and enriched with the inclusion of the penitential prayers written by liturgical poets.

Tomando de Temple Emanu-El

Selichot: Prayers of Repentance

Selichot, prayers for forgiveness, are ancient prayers already mentioned in the Mishnah. They originated as prayers for fast days. The Mishnah describes public fast days and the order of prayer for such occasions as featuring a series of exhortations that end with the words "He will answer us," recalling the times in Jewish history when God answered those who called upon Him. The Tanna deve Eliyahu Zuta, a midrashic work that dates at the latest to the ninth century, mentions a special service for forgiveness instituted by King David when he realized that the Temple would be destroyed. "How will they attain atonement?" he asked the Lord and was told that the people would recite the order of Selichot and would then be forgiven. God even showed David that this act of contrition would include a recitation of the "Thirteen Attributes of God," a descriptive passage from Exodus that expresses God's merciful nature:

"The Lord! The Lord! A God compassionate and gracious, slowto anger, rich in steadfast kindness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; yet He does not remit all punishment..." (Exodus 34:6‑7).

The name "Lord" [the Hebrew letters YHWH which constitute God’s name] was consistently understood by the Rabbis as referring to the appearance of God in His attribute of mercy, Therefore, its repetition in this passage indicated that God was merciful at all times. As the Talmud put it:

"The Lord! the Lord!"‑-I am the same before one sins and after one sins and repents. "A God compassionate and gracious..." Says Rabbi Judah, "A covenant has been made concerning these Thirteen Attributes. They will never be turned away empty handed..."

The Selichot service also emphasizes the recitation of "The Thirteen Attributes." Over the centuries, special poems embellishing this passage were added to the Selichot. The exact poems to be recited may differ from place to place, but the basic elements of the service have remained the same throughout the Jewish world. Because of its emphasis on God's forgiving nature, this text describing "The Thirteen Attributes" plays an important role in the Yom Kippur liturgy as well.

The tradition of reciting Selichot throughout the month of Elul may stem from the fact that it was customary to fast six days before Rosh Hashanah. Since the Selichot originated as prayers for fast days, it followed naturally that they would be recited at this time.


Tomado de My Jewish Learning

El movimiento reformista ha editado hace años un servicio especial de Selichot. En Google Books se puede acceder a parte de la obra:

Gates of forgiveness

08 septiembre 2009

Four Rungs of the Ladder

Tomado de Chabad.org

The order of the prayers is one of gradual ascent, rising ever higher among the 'Four Worlds,' from one sphere to the next - the higher - one: from

(a) Asiyah, the 'World of Action' of the Birchot Hashachar to

(b) Yetzirah, the 'World of Formation' of the Pesukei Dezimra, to

(c) Beri'ah, the 'World of Creation' of Birchot Keri'at Shema and theShema, to

(d) Atzilut, the 'World of Emanation' of the Shemoneh Esrei.

The faculties of the animal soul relate to this material world.

Their sustenance is from the vital powers in the victuals which sustain the life of man's body and his animal soul, and which have the potential of being elevated to sanctity.

Man, therefore, is bound to 'below' (material reality). Thus he must elevate the soul and bind it unto G-d. He must conquer the sitra achara (the 'other side,' as opposed to the 'side of holiness') and turn it around to "serve Him with all your heart," i.e., with both your spiritual and physical inclinations, to the point of attaining Echad.

The essence of all prayer is the contemplation of Echad - that "G-d isEchad (One)" (Deuteronomy 6:4), the sole reality, even now after the creation of the universe in space and time. He is and remains Echad - east, west, north, south, above and below, and likewise in terms of time (past, present and future).

For relative to G-d it is all the same, the present status with that prior to creation, prior to the categories of time and space.

The gradual intensification of the order of prayers follows the pattern of the ladder that appeared in Jacob's dream, the four rungs of which one is to ascend.

Tefilah is the 'ladder set in the earth, and its top reaches into heaven.'

One begins all the way below: first the Birchot Hashachar, 'Blessed are You who opens the eyes of the blind.' One proceeds from the lowest level until literally reaching the state of "You shall love G-d" - i.e., submitting the soul at Echad.

The ladder of tefilah allows us to ascend. It is the intermediary "uniting the higher with the lower. The one above can descend on it to the one below, even as the one below can ascend on it to the one above."

Of this ladder it is said that "the messengers of G-d ascend and descend on it": by means of this ladder man elevates himself.

His mitzvot (which are referred to as 'messengers of G-d', the observance of which involves matter, ascend and rise upwards on this ladder. In turn, it is by means of this ladder that the Heavenly Grace is drawn forth and downwards.

Tefilah 'reaches into heaven' and establishes a zivug (union) with offspring of a completely new consciousness.

07 septiembre 2009

Iamin Noraim en Bet El

Bet El es la principal congregación Masortí de España. Está en Madrid. Es la comunidad de la que yo soy miembro. Ya hace 10 años que formo parte de esta gran aventura judía conservadora en Madrid.

Estos son los horarios de Iamin Noraim. Si quieres asistir debes ponerte en contacto con Silvio en la dirección de mail que aparece al final.



Viernes/Friday 18 Sept.

Kabalat Shabat……………19:20 p.m.

Sábado/Saturday 19 Sept.

Shajarit……………………..9:30 a.m

Arvit………………………..19:20 p.m

Domingo/Sunday 20 Sept.

Shajarit……………………..9:30 a.m.


Domingo/Sunday 27 Sept.

Kol Nidre……………….…18:45 p.m.

Lunes/Monday 28 de Sept.

Shajarit…………………….9.30 a.m.


For more information contact Silvio at silvio@bet-el.org

Para más información, ponte en contacto con Silvio en silvio@bet-el.org

01 septiembre 2009

Jewish Renewal in America

Excelente serie de conferencias por Chava Weissler sobre Jewish Renewal.

Con una claridad expositiva de primer orden y una profundidad académica más que notable en el análisis, Chava Weissler ofrece una visión completa y compleja de esta nueva forma de entender el Judaísmo que conecta la tradición Jasídica con el feminismo, el ecologismo y el moviento contracultural de los 60.

1. Jewish Renewal in the America