The poem at the centre of the Yom Kippur service

With thanks: Lisette

The Ten Penitential Days are about to reach their climax with Yom Kippur, which starts this evening.

To quote the Masorti website, Adon HaSelichot is one of the oldest known piyutim, liturgical poems, in the canon of High Holiday prayers.

In Sephardic communities, the piyut is at the center of the Selichot service, recited daily, besides Shabbat, from the 2nd day of Elul until after Yom Kippur.

The piyut has become well known across the Jewish communities of Israel, and is sung in most synagogues, with melodies coming from Turkey, Morocco, and Ottoman-era Palestine, among others. The poem, written in acrostic form, focuses on God’s omniscience and awareness of the sins and failings of every human. Despite this, we ask for God to have mercy on us, despite our various shortcomings.

Here is a spirited rendering of Adon Haselichot on the Shofar, the ram’s horn, by the Israel Sosna band. The audience of Sephardi Yeshiva boys supplies the chorus.

Wishing all those who are marking Yom Kippur an easy fast and all good wishes for 5782.



Adon haselichot
bochen levavot
goleh amukot
dover tzedakot

Chatanu lefaneicha
rachem aleinu.

Hadur benifla’ot
vatik benechamot
zocher b’rit amo
choker kelayot

Chatanu lefaneicha
rachem aleinu.

Male zakiyut
nora tehino
tzone’ach avonot
oneh be’etzavot

Chatanu lefaneicha
rachem aleinu.

Master of Forgivings
examiner of hearts
the revealer of depths
speaker of justice

We have sinned before You,
have mercy upon us

Glorious in wonders
great in consolations
remembering the covenant of his nation
investigating innihilation

We have sinned before You,
have mercy upon us

Full of gaining
his entreaty is awesome
drops evils to the ground
answers sorrows

We have sinned before You,
have mercy upon us

Break the Yom Kippur Fast with these two Sephardi recipes

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