When Did Elul Become A Time To Party?

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Dear Matzav Shmooze,

I am writing today to be yotzeh my chiyuv to be mocheh.

Last night was the first night of selichos. For hundreds of years this meant going to a bais medrash to learn a bissel mussar, maybe listening to shmooze from your Rav or Rosh Yeshiva on inynei d’yoma, before starting to say selichos at chatzos.

Of course, in 2018, everything needs to be updated. The new version of leil selichos now includes guitars, bongos and other instruments. Instead of crying and teshuva we have videos of people singing and dancing. In name of “spirituality” we’ve changed the way things have been done for generations. And they say that Reform began when a shul chose to remove one “Yikum Pirkun” from davening…

I’m not a Rov or a Rosh Yeshiva that can shtell mussar or tell anyone what to do. But I also can’t watch as the night of Selichos turn into a party time without being moche.

Thank you for publishing,





  1. Elul is not a time to party but if people don’t understand what Elul is about it’s probably better to ignore their behavior than to protest it.

  2. Relax. If Selichois was being held in a movie theater then you have a reason to be Moiche. But selichois through singing is just another way to miskarev to hashem. I can assure you that your great grandparents would not approve of half the stuff you do. Lets first start off with going to a restaurant. Do you think the yidden back then did something so outrageous like that? Of coarse not. Put things into perspective. We live in a different generation today

  3. Very well said. Although we are very distant from Doros before us, there has to be serious times in our avodas Hashem. We’re focusing on holelus in the name of hisorerus. Where to draw the line is where this gets tricky. Honesty and self improvement should be on all our hearts and minds and if these events bring out true hisorerus then it’s a good thing, if not, and even if it causes us a little tinge of Yetzer Hara, then it’s a gathering she’lo L’shaim shamayim. I think we’re at a very low point in our hergashim of ra and tov and really pity our generation that needs instruments in full fledge concert gear, to help us realize that the Yom hadin is upon us.
    Thank you for bringing this to light

  4. It bothers me now less than it used to. Look, it’s not meant for people who are already hooked in deep and yearn for a serious Elul. We have to face the fact that many many people today don’t connect to the serious slichos with lots of new hard words, and this evolved because ישראל קדושים הם and are looking for ways and means to connect to Hashem. You have to use whatever’s in your means to inspire and get inspired. So while I cannot imagine myself davening in such a Slichos, I do happen to know lots of people who really can use it.

  5. Precisely my sentiments
    The first selichos night has evolved into a lively night of “feel good”levity and “Shul hopping”, with the intended introspective, personal examination that Chazal intended for this time of year, becoming tangential , if not completely ignored

  6. If chazzanim can gorgel away and have been doing so for hundreds of years with no protests, they believe that music is about on the same level.

  7. and don’t forget – אדם יראה לעינים וה’ יראה ללבב. If you thing סליחות and ראש השנה always looked the same you simply don’t know our history. The אבן עזרא and ר’ יהודה הלוי took out the פיוטים of the קליר for sepharadim because people weren’t connecting to them. In many places they had חזנים and choirs and were selling tickets. This was in Europe too. BOTTOM LINE: – You can have a ראש ישיבה with a ‘frock’ and a big talis over his head shleppng away the davening and his heart is far far from hashem, and I know many people who can daven with a guitar and really get transformed in the process, doing real תשובה. Each person should be honest with himself and do what really brings him to תשובה.

    • doesn’t give anyone anyone the excuse to make a hollelus out of selichos. if there would be a shul that would sing and dance throughout kol nidrei night everyone would be condemning it,even though maybe he’s doing real tshuva, and his heart is closer to hashem than (he thinks) it ever was. NO YOU CANNOT COME TO G-D ASKING FOR A TRUE MICHILA WITH A GUITAR. its a time of melech basadeh, would anyone normal person come in front of a king asking for an appeal of a sentence with a guitar??????????????????????????!1!!?

  8. Thank you. Very well put.
    I’ll take it a step further. How people can stay & party up in the Catskills long after Elul has started, is beyond me. I know there are a lot of chevra who are there now. After all it’s Labor day weekend. I paid for my summer home so don’t tell me what to do. By hanging out in bathing suits by the swimming pool with a week to go before Rosh Hashana, doesn’t give off any yiras shomayim vibes. It shows a lack of caring or concern for the impending Yom Hadin. I guess they have some connections upstairs so they and their families have nothing to worry about. Interesting. Kesef yaaneh es hakol.

    • By hanging out in bathing suits by the swimming pool with a week to go before Rosh Hashana, doesn’t give off any yiras shomayim vibes

      Hanging out online doesn’t give off any yiras shomayim vibes either.

    • So I get it swimming in Elul is a problem, but being on the Internet a week before Rosh Hashanah is not the problem !
      In plain English you And you’re like are there reason our youths growth today has been stunted!
      And this is coming from someone who does not agree with everything our youth is doing today, but rest a short swimming is not the problem or being in a Bungalo Conley is not the problem !!
      Take a long look in the Mirror !apparently you are not happy with what you see

  9. Of course if someone uses the night for ‘shul hopping’ and ‘fun’, he’s just like the guy 100 years ago who also went ‘Chazzan and choir hopping’. – and doing so on Sukkos or Chanukah or Purim checking out the different ‘Rebbishe’ Sukos or menoros rather than focusing on what matters – also negates what Chaza”l had in mind… Bottom Line: Each one should be honest with himself, and do what connects him to T’shuva and to Hashem.

    • %100 maskim, even if it means getting drunk before kol nidrei and partying all night long (dont foget yom kippur days hang over). i know someone who was OTD, and he never stepped foot into shul, even yom kippur, only after they started the program “pray in`drink on yom keepor” in my town did he start to go to shul.

  10. The first proclamation is the very reason why these people look to abandon Yidishkeit altogether.

    Yes, agreed, it is indeed very sad that this is to what the generation has come to.

    However, many participating are most likely people that wouldn’t bother going to any selichus in the first place. So in this case, it is best to take the advice of Chazal. Sometimes it is better to be silent…

    And I’m sure this is the reason you have not heard anything from any Rabbanim. It has been going on for the last couple of years.

    • the rabbbanim have been screaming against these selichos for years, the only reason you never heard them is becouse you dont want to hear them

  11. If this is how some people are able to connect to hkbh and work on themselves I don’t see the problem. It is better then the two twenty year old gentelmen that I was disturbing last night by saying my slichos out loud while they were trying to catch up on their business for this week. The only thing that they accomplished was the schar halicha.

  12. todays youth and some of its rabonim have this notion that its a feel good religion and you do what makes you feel good

    nobody feels good about getting up at 5am (i davened in a chasidishe shule) but i did it every year with my father ah
    it was very hard for me to get up and yes it might have been boring
    but thats what my father did and so did his father all the way back
    can someone please show me a mekor in a sefer about having music by selichos and please note that music dates back to the times of noach!

  13. As long as people are doing it’s really no one else’s business how they are doing. All of us lead different lives and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.
    Stop being do judgmental and look for the positive. Less people will leave if we all do that!!!!

  14. Who told you the city is better? More crowded, more Pritzus etc. It pretty much depends of your intention. If someone can afford staying away from the city – that’s great. why not?
    Second – if music can get individuals that otherwise would avoid Selichos all together – and there are many, many of them – would you deprive it from them? the power of music – if harnessed correctly and channeled in the right direction is huge. Do not devalue and underestimate it

  15. It’s completely unacceptable!
    This instrument business started with those low level Leviem in the Bsis Hamikdosh and it’s been down hill since. Imagine, taking the words of Dovid Hamelech, that we daven every day of praising Hashem with instruments, seriously .

    • the leviyim didn’t sing on serious times such as yom kippur. youre mixing things up. i have an amazing upshlug on anyone who says that a musicall selichos is wrong: the same rabbonim who say singing and dancing by selichos is wrong, sing and dance on simchas hatorah!! – in middle of hakafos!!!- hypocrites. NOT. if you can’t differentiate between slichos hallell levyim bais hamidosh carlbach shul and dovid hamelech, its not my fault, everyone agrees you gotta do your homework.

  16. a TRUE yiras shmayim would not post that he is being moiche, he would simply daven that people should change if that’s what he feels is wrong with today’s Elul!
    No real Ben Torah is posting any of his concerns about other people on the Internet !!

    • Typical knee jerk response when you have no answer. So “what are you doing on the internet”? Wow, what a shtarkeh kasha? Mamesh gaonus. Don’t take any rebuke. This is an open forum.

  17. I agree with article for me. But also am sure that Hashem is way more open minded than we are. And accepts anyone that’s real no matter what it looks like on the outside . Also beware of ‘patchkevilin’ with no rabbis signing. It’s usually the hotheads

  18. “We live in a different generation today.”
    “It bothers me now less than it used to.”
    The above two comments are part of the problem, not an answer or solution.

    “A TRUE yiras shmayim would not post that he is being moiche,”
    First of all, why wouldn’t a “true yorei Somayim” not be concerned to fulfill the mitzvah of “hocheiach tochiach es amisechah?”
    Secondly, being a yorei Shomayim is not optional.

  19. Just look into parshas Berashis to see what happened when Adamn told Chava it’s forbidden to touch the Eitz Hadas. Let’s not make new isurim. if you don’t like it don’t do it. There were many yidden who were uplifted by these silichos. One of the problems with todays is generation that people think that if they disagree with someone they can protest, scream, curse, destroy, inconvenience others to prove their point. In the past a rov, darshan,magid would reproach the people from the pulpit., never resorting to such behavior. I’ll say it again If you don’t like it don’t do it, but don’t your opinion a toras moshe..

  20. Judaism is always a religion where we are supposed to enjoy what we do. עבדו את ה בשמחה. Three people sit by seuda shelishit. One got excited from the food. Another from the zemirot and a third from the divre Torah. There are many rings on the ladder of servitude. It is the job of each to always reach higher. But if others are on a low rung, they should only be guilty if they stepped down but not if they came to that rung by stepping up.

    • ivdy es hashem besicha….like on tisha bav, 17 tamuz etc .? think before you post! theres a chapter in jewish code o f law when b’simcha and when not. besimcha doesnt mean every davening you turn into musical festival. its also ‘al titosh toras imaycha.

  21. Just thinking about the posuk at the end of the Tochacha: תחת אשר לא עבדתם…בשמחה ובטוב לבב!
    Food for thought…

    • yeh i think that posuk is talking about people who cry on yom kippur. or maybe those mourn on tisha b` av. or maybe those who fast on shiva asar btammuz

  22. To jay furst:
    Shulchan aruch says משנכנס אב ממעטים בשמחה. ממעטים אבל לא מבטלים משמחה. Outwardly we mourn inwardly we are happy to do the will of Hashem and think about our relationship with Him and how we miss the resting of the shechina in our midst. We must always be happy with performing mitsvot.

  23. It is people like this letter writer who cause so many to become disgusted and disenfranchised with what Yiddishkeit has turned into (a race to out-frum one another and with with no real connection to Hashem). It is the guitars and the lively dancing etc. that is actually keeping many young people engaged and bringing many young people back. If you don’t like it, no need to go, but enough with this constant “bashing and belittling” of every type of connection to Hashem that is different than your own, all in the name of God of course.

    hashem loves every Jew, guitar , long hair and lively dancing and all!

    • wow, when did you speak to him last? We alwatys thaught that hashem loves who adhere to the 4 parts of jewish law. Not people who make up thier own ‘minhagim’ thats hoe all these heretical movements started..reform etc they added and subtracted what made them feel better

    • With all due respect I don’t think that every person who expresses dislike of the nouveau selichos style is bashing. Of course Hashem loves every Jew – whether he/she is misguided or not…again if you want to be moved by selichos with music? How about checking out how our Sephardic brothers do it? There is plenty of song but the tempo of the song is that of the context. Dorei Doros they do it that way…watch the videos from the kosel and see how many young people are there…thousands.

  24. Thank you for sharing the article by Yaakov Klein.

    Having been raised that Elul is the prep time for the Yom HaDin, going to first Selichos one could feel the trepidation for having to face the Yom HaDin. My mother would always say to us – you are going before the judge, don’t you think that you should say tehillim and daven for the best outcome? So all of my life I knew to strike the balance between the fact that I had to own my behaviors but wasn’t I lucky that Hakadosh Baruch Hu gives us a chance to start over??? Indeed that is the beauty of Yahadus.

    And yes, I know that by Chassidim the time of Elul and Tishrei is embraced with less fear and more from the perspective of a loving Hashem; HaMelech Basadeh…

    But what is wrong with our culture is that everything has to always feel good. I can feel that Hashem loves me and still have KOVED ROSH – a serious frame of mind – as I make a cheshbon hanefesh. We live in a generation that everything has to feel good. No – there is a time and place for everything. Not everything has to feel good all of the time. In fact, the original selichos nusach was a serious tone and only the last kaddish is a joyous one where we are confident that our tefillos were accepted l’tovah. This to me is the proper approach to our gift – the season of teshuva. We do our very best to repent and embrace it as a serious time, not a festival, and we are joyous in the end because we are confident that Hashem, our father and King, has accepted our apologies and we will start anew.
    This is not a contradiction to spirituality. Everything in its proper place and form.

    Yes we must look for ways to get closer to Hashem but not on our terms, but the terms and tone that has been our hallmark for generations. May we rid ourselves of the hyper-focus on “me” and what makes me happy without consideration of anyone or anything else. L’asos retzoncha b’levav shalem. Masores is a treasure and embedded in it is the key to a Yahadus which sustains the winds and challenges of each generation – DOREI DOROS.

  25. Don’t we have some amazing tzadikim, who are so preoccupied with other people’s ruchnius! Silly me thought that Elul is about working on ourselves, as opposed to judging others. Actually, here I am judging those that judge – so how am I better? Perhaps I should just shut up, and be concerned with mine and my family’s ruchnius.

  26. וגילו ברעדה. Yes, selichos is serious, but חדוה תקיעא בלבאי מסטרא דא ובכיה תקיעא בלבאי מסטרא דא. There has to be both.

    Singing happy tunes *during* selichos is an innovation, and perhaps not right. But a farbrengen *before* selichos, to prepare oneself for it, is indeed traditional, and if you’re not familiar with this tradition that doesn’t make it any less valid. You have to accept that it is a minhag yisroel, just as valid as your own. You are not entitled to disparage it, just because it’s new to you.

  27. another thing: yes, happy tunes during selichos (as opposed to before and after) rubs me the wrong way. But selichos has always involved singing and *serious* tunes, and I don’t understand why anyone would be opposed to accompanying those tunes with instruments. How is that in any way contrary to the spirit of selichos? When the chazan gives out a hearfelt Shma Kolenu, why is it bad for a violin or a guitar to enhance the call? It’s not that I simply disagree with the opposition, I don’t even understand it. Leshitosom, what is wrong?

  28. minhagim are not made up of everybodys boich svaeos.
    every halacha, minhag etc are rooted on holy sources. what every tom dick or harrry decides hes comfortale with is avodah zarah(not My own).if in shulchn is not mentioned music instements like by wedding simchas beis hashoaivah then your not supposed to no matter how better you feel!!
    one of the things these apikosishe movements innovated (because they felt better and to be like tifleh was ‘organ’

          • you piont out 1 seuf in shulchen urech that the holy rebbes discarded….and dont tell me abour zman tefileh because they daven on zman…of course you have plent who daven late ALL over butnot because they discarde halacha. me you plenty times late

  29. to letter writer,
    about your chiyev to be moich you are in no way shape or form yoitze..
    moiche is…. you have to go to those people who engage in this kind music festival (slichos?).
    what are you moichening on matzav…there was no music festival (slchos hollelos) here

  30. Uman 20 years ago was unheard of…now thousands go…society is changing just like liberalism and chassidus..yes 2 opposites but with a message of hope and change….which direction is yiddisheit going…before 1960-1970’s nobody was wearing a black hat and white shirt…

    • I thought President Obama was all about hope & change. He was going to have the most transparent white house. What happened?

    • 20 years ago thos s thousands weren alive yet . in anycase whats the comparison….
      whats the problem to go daven by tzadik…’melamed shoshivu yeshivah al kivro’

    • ‘before 1960s nobody was wearing a hat…’ you say your on drugs? where did you get that. so before 1950s most were mechallel shabbos and much more (until yidden came after the churbin) so maybe you should be mechallel shabbos etc’ Some other idiot stated he saw picture of mixed dancing and then the fanatics came along etc..theres story a rav told his congregents to see to eat at least the first night of suckko sa ‘kezais'(in the late 1940s) so they told him dont preach to us this “this Satmerer minhagim…’ the same with your ‘no hats white shirt before the 1960’s’
      of course these are 2 different ….hat ,white shirt is just a minor item

    • people wore “dress” clothes. they just didnt standardize to what they are now. you could see all shades of hats and all styles in prewar lita. including the kashket in europe. they wore “dress shirts” in america the shirts weren’t a standardized white color though it depended on peoples taste. and in torahvadass post war people wore ties to school what school nowadays wears ties to school? etc. etc.

  31. Personally I think that musical slichos are ridiculous, but if there is no direct halacha against something that others use for their Avodas H, mind your own ruchnius – no matter how silly what they doing seems. Don’t go to musical slichos if it bothers you, and save your mechoa for real violations of halacha and Torah hashkafa – such as being quick to judge other Yiden. Minhogim are wonderful and very important, but no defense of a minhag gives you a heter to be oiver deoraisos of embarrassing and mistreating other Yiden.

    • there is something thats much more than ‘halacha like ‘al titosh toras imaycha’ about halacha …’talmud huya shemetahar es hashrotzim b’159 tamim’. you know the ‘halacha ‘mihug mevatel es hadin’ again doich svares you present here is null and void

      • Try to read the 7:30 comment: minhagim are wonderful and very important, but nobody gave you permission to transgress Torah prohibitions, such as mistreating other Yiden.

      • Jay, you are so confused. Try to comprehend what the other person said before you comment. I won’t even mention your complete amoratzus. Suffice it to say that you have enlightened me to understand CHAZAL’s position at the end of the third perek in Psachim.

          • Jay, I imagine you in the days of Baal Shem Tov, prosecuting those that dared to change some minhagim from Ashkenaz to Sefarad. Not an ideological opponent fighting milchamos H like GRO, but a mindless misnaged. You are an am hooretz and sonei Yisroel.

    • does traditional selichos count as a minhag?
      but let’s go down the rabbit hole.
      what would you say about jews not wearing yarmulkes? that’s a minhag. or jews not giving giving maser Kessef?

      • That’s right: you have no right to be oiver d’Oraisa and embarrass a Yid who is not wearing a kipa. Obviously I’m referring to a case where there’s no minus involved; when dealing with apikorsim and minim, all the bets are off. These musical slichos people might be funny, but they are not minim – in fact they might be more sincere, as they are at least trying to wake up their souls. Right now, it is the minhag-tramps-d’Oraisa crowd who might be considered to be minim.

        • anonymous 9/4 9 13 am
          first i dont know him he dont know me, so no embarresing anyone. 2nd the saying ‘hes not a shaygetz because he dont wear a kippah, but because hes a saygetz he dont wear akippa’

  32. If you could have hissorrrus at 12 sleichos at 1250 seriously you could dance to connect to your maker. gei gzunt heit. But if you have in mind you’re going to a party. don’t do it!

  33. Part of the motive of the protest is that Some people have a hard time with change

    And some people embrace change

    So if your switch personalities I wonder who would say what.

    More Psychological analysis needed here, especially from the ones posting comments!!

    • “Some people have a hard time with change” – true, the chsam sofer wrote chiddush ossur min hatorah – that daas torah

  34. How many people said selichos the old fashioned way? Holding candles to illuminate the words in the selichos. While I personally do not attend these kumsitz/musical events, I know people who do and if they encourage others who become better yidden because of it, kol hakovod.

    • how many people do slichos the old fashioned way, with the gabbai banging on the windows at 4:00 AM? i would say none if you have alarm clocks theres no reason for you to do that, the same way theres no reason to use candles when you could turn on the switch!!!

  35. from attending such a party slichos night isn’t right and you should know that also. maybe the summer, could bedeieved dieved in ellul (chvsh) but not during the first night of slichos.
    and trust me, theyr becoming close to hashem like weed puts you on a high to the kisei hakavod.

  36. As we approach the new year, is there any hope the Dolphins will mount to anything this year or is it just another ho-hum season right down to the basement where they feel most comfortable?


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