Sunday, September 01, 2013

Starting Selichos on Time

Last night was the first night of selichos and in Israel חצות was about 12:40 so selichos also started around 12:40. Many shuls have a minhag where the Rav speaks for a few minutes before selichos to inspire the people. This is a very fine minhag, however, the Rav should realize that it is very late and that people want to start selichos on time and go home and go to sleep. Sunday in Israel is a regular workday and people can't really sleep late. For the Rav to plan to speak for 15 minutes and then speak for an extra 10 minutes is really not right. No one would be upset if the Rav spoke for 25 or even 30 minutes if he started 25 or 30 minutes before the scheduled time for selichos. However, to start speaking 15 minutes before the scheduled start and then go over 10 minutes and start selichos 10 minutes late  is a tremendous טרחא דציבורא at such a late hour.

There is a famous saying that to speak for 10 minutes is much harder then to speak for an hour. When you have a short time you need to really hone your message and measure your words. When you have an hour you have much more leeway. Unfortunately, there are some people who can never fit what they want to say in the allotted time. If you give them ten minutes they speak for 20-25. If you give them an hour they will have enough material for an hour and a half.

This really bothers me. Many times it points to a lack of discipline and preparation. I speak publicly every so often, and when I do so, I go over exactly what I am going to say a number of times before I actually speak and I time myself. If I have 10 minutes to speak then I will make sure that I have enough to say for 10 minutes and not more. The same goes for 40 minutes or an hour. I don't understand how you can prepare a speech that is allotted 15 minutes and take 25 minutes. That is almost double the time.


Jonathan B. Horen said...

"That is almost double the time."

פעמים "כי טוב"?

Pragmatician said...

Very good point,but the "minhag" won't change, just say the selichos in a different shul (with no speech at all, frankly who can handle speeches at that hour anyway..?)

bohr salino said...

I said slichos in the morning. 1240 is way too late.
there is a discussion whether the whole of slichos should begin at midnight or only the 13 middos. In teh second case you could begin 5-10 minutes earlier