Selichot is one of those things that reminds me how much I enjoy and appreciate Sefardi culture. The tunes are very upbeat, yet emotional as well. The lyrics are like daggers and hit you exactly where you need it.
Some Jews are often surprised when they hear how upbeat and "happy" the Sefardi tunes to Selichot are. I had a roommate in seminary who felt uncomfortable listening to it. But here's the thing - our outlook is that these days of teshuva/judgement/Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur are not only very grave and serious days but also happy days! It's a GOOD and exciting thing to return to our Father in Heaven and receive forgiveness and mercy. (Based on this book)
I'm not familiar with any of the Ashkenazi tunes or lyrics to Selichot, except Avinu Malkeinu. Does anyone recommend any CDs?
I remember hearing that tune as a little girl in an Ashkenazi Synagogue and being so moved. But I didn't know why. I didn't understand Judaism at all.
I looked behind me yesterday - at all the women. Some were swaying, some were crying, some brought relatives or friends who are just beginning to see the light of teshuva and Judaism. It was one of those moments...where you just feel like you have all the clarity. Where you just want to talk to HaShem about everything. Ask Him for anything. Tell Him what's bothering you. Thank Him for saving you. He really did save me...I could've still been that girl, decades later, still confused. Not knowing which siddur to use or what on earth they're reciting and why.
Selichot really make me pause and think...where am I heading? What am I doing with my life? What're my thoughts mainly about? Is my outlook "kamim la'avod et haBoreh" (We wake up to serve The Creator)?
I can hardly wait for all the shiurim this week, and of course, selichot motzei Shabbat b"H. I need the inspiration!
Here's one of my favorites: