Jews pray for forgiveness at Western Wall Selichot prayers

The word "selichot" is derived from the Hebrew word "forgiveness" and refers to liturgical prayers asking for forgiveness.

September 2, 2018 16:32
Western Wall Plaza.

Western Wall Plaza.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Jews from around the world gathered at the Western Wall for selichot prayers, marking the penitential season with liturgical prayers asking for repentance and recognizing God's domain as king of the world.

Selichot, from the Hebrew word  'forgiveness,' are said by Ashkenazi European Jews for the week before Rosh Hashana until the day before Yom Kippur, and by Sefardi Jews from the beginning of the month of Elul until Yom Kippur.

The prayers are centralized around a refrain of God's 13 attributes of mercy, which were told to Moses after the People of Israel sinned at the Golden Calf. Liturgically, they are used to ask for God's mercy as we enter the season of repentance.

While the prayers are most often said around midnight, it is possible to see supplicants playing Selichot for the duration of the night.

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