Pre-Selichos Prep

Question: Should I try to say some or all of the morning berachos before selichos?


As soon as you wake up, you should wash your hands (netillas yodayim) even if it is before alos hashachar. If it is after chatzos and you have relieved yourself and do not expect to use the bathroom again before tefilla, you should say al netillas yodayim after washing your hands after using the bathroom. If you suspect that you may need to use the bathroom again before tefilla, do not make the beracha when washing after the first time you used the bathroom; instead, wait until you are ready to daven, use the bathroom, wash netillas yodayim, and then make the beracha.[1]

When al netillas yodayim is said (whether it be after the first time you used the bathroom that day or a subsequent time prior to tefilla), it is best to add asher yotzar and elohai neshama.[2] Al netillas yodayim can be said before selichos if you do not think you will need the bathroom again before tefilla; otherwise, it should be said after selichos.[3]

Birkas hatorah should preferably be said before selichos.[4] Thus, when al netillas yodayim can be said before selichos, it should be followed by asher yotzar, elohai neshama and birkas hatorah.[5]

The Ramo states explicitly that the custom was to first say selichos and only after that birkas hatorah.[6] The pesukim recited in selichos are said not as Torah study but as supplication and prayer and do not require a beracha.[7] There is a dispute about this issue, however. The Mechaber deems it correct to say birkas hatorah before selichos since pesukim are said.[8] The Mishna Berura understands the Ramo as first describing the custom supporting what he believes is the halocho, but then mentioning a conflicting custom that supports the Mechaber. The Mishna Berura resolves the conflict by saying that the Ramo maintains that it is preferable to follow the stringent opinion (in case it is correct) and say birkas hatorah before selichos since pesukim will be said, albeit only as supplication.[9] This is a chumra and not halocho.

You can say birchos hashachar before selichos if you like, but there is no imperative to do so. Saying them after selichos is just as good.

You can put on your tallis and tefillin before selichos. The earliest time to put them on is approximately 5:35 in Ramat Beit Shemesh during the selichos period (This time is correct for the period after Rosh Hashanah 5765, though the exact time varies from day to day).

BookID: 1 Chapter: 46

[1] עמ''ב סימן ד' ס''ק ל''ג ובביה''ל בס''א ד''ה ואפילו, וביה''ל סי''ג ד''ה כל הלילה וד''ה ויטלם.

[2] עמ''ב סימן ו' סק''ט וס''ק י''ב ובסימן ד' סק''ד.

[3] עמ''ב סימן ו' ס''ק י''א.

[4] מ''ב סימן מ''ו ס''ק כ''ח.

[5] מ''ב סימן מ''ו ס''ק כ''ט.

[6] רמ''א סימן מ''ו ס''ט.

[7] כן ביאר המחבר סמ''ו ס''ט וכ''כ ליישב מנהג במ''ב סימן ו' ס''ק י''א.

[8] סימן מ''ו ס''ט.

[9] מ''ב סימן מ''ו ס''ק כ''ח. ומכ''מ ממ''ב סימן א' סק''ח מבואר דשרי לומר מודה אני קודם ברכת התורה.

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