Reciting the 13 attributes of mercy without a Minyan in the Torah reading tune

May one recite the 13 attributes of mercy to himself in the Torah reading tune?

If one is saying Selichos without a Minyan, he is to omit the 13 attributes of mercy.[1] It is permitted to recite the thirteen attributes in the Torah reading tune even if one is reciting it alone.[2] Nevertheless, many are accustomed to avoid doing so, and they thus completely omit it when a Minyan is not present.[3] Practically, the recorded Chabad custom is not to say it.[4]

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[1] Michaber 565/5; Mateh Efraim 581/21; Kaf Hachaim 565/26 [this applies even during the Aseres Yimei Teshuvah].

[2] Michaber 565/5; Tur 565; M”A 565/5; Rashba in Teshuvah; Terumas Hadeshen 8; Seder Hayom [must finish the entire verse]; Machazik Bracha 131/6; Kesher Gudal 19/9; Ruach Chaim 131/1; Mateh Efraim 581/21 [however states that in such a case must omit the words Zechor Lanu Hayom Bris Shlosh Esrei]; Hisorerus Teshuvah 2/140; Minchas Elazar 4/22 [defends ruling of Mateh Efraim however in Darkei Chaim Veshalom 190 says not to say at all even in a way of Niggun. Vetzaruch Iyun.]; Grach Naah in Yagdil Torah Jerusalem 17 p. 26 [states that technically one is not even required to recite it with the tune]; Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 3/10; Kaf Hachaim 131/23 brings the dispute on this matter and rules it is only to be said with the Niggun by Tachanun and not by Selichos.

The reason: As there is no prohibition in reading it as a verse in scripture. The prohibition is only when reading it without a Minyan as a prayer and supplication

The tune: Rav Avraham Chaim Naah in Yagdil Torah ibid states that technically one is not even required to recite it with the tune, and it is only done to show that one does not mean to say it as a prayer. The Igros Moshe ibid similarly states that one may read the words in the usual tune he uses for reading words of Torah, even if it is not the actual Torah reading tunes [Taamim], so long as it does not sound like a supplication.

Finishing the verse: The Seder Hayom writes that one must finish the entire verse [until Vieal Riveim] and may not stop by the words Venakeh, as it is forbidden to end a verse in an area that Moshe did not end. [see Admur 494/11] However, some Poskim state it is not necessary to finish the verse. [Ben Ish Chaiy in Rav Poalim 1/11; Yechaveh Daas 1/47 based on Pesach Dvir 51] Practically, the Kaf Hachaim ibid negates the opinion of the Seder Hayom, and so rules Rav Avraham Chaim Naah in Yagdil Torah ibid; Igros Moshe ibid; Hisorerus Teshuvah 2/140; Piskeiy Teshuvos 565/5]

Reading in a Siddur: Some write that one must read the verse within a Sefer rather than from memory. [Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid in name of Peri Hasada 4/49]

[3] Beis Yosef 565; Taz 565/5; Birkeiy Yosef 488/5 in name of Maharam Zakusa in name of Arizal; Shalmei Tzibur p. 148; Zechor Leavraham 131/7; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 190 [However see Minchas Elazar 4/22 who defends ruling of Mateh Efraim ibid that it may be said so long as one skips the parts that mention the 13 Middos before and after reading it. Vetzaruch Iyun.]; Kaf Hachaim 131/23 rules that by Selichos one may not say it.

The reason: The reason is because since he is mentioning it at this time, seemingly his intent is as a request and not to read a verse in the Torah. [Taz ibid]

[4] Otzer Minhagei Chabad Elul 63; Hiskashrus 423 p. 18 footnote 17; Glosses of Rav Raskin on Siddur footnote 337; Heichal Menachem 3/265


Otzer Minhagei Chabad ibid records that an individual does not recite the 13 attributes even with the Torah reading tune. This is based on an answer of the Rebbe to this exact question of which the Rebbe answered that he has not heard of such a practice of reading it with the tune. In the first printings of the Siddur Tehillas Hashem it stated by Mincha that a Yachid does not recite the 13 attributes. It did not mention this by Shacharis or Selichos. The Rebbe was hence asked if there is a difference, to which the Rebbe replied in Igros Kodesh 3/138 that he never heard of such a differentiation as the ruling is clearly given in 565/5 without any difference regarding the type of prayer.

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