Question: [Tuesday, 24th Elul, 5782]
May an Avel who is within his 12th month of mourning [i.e. past 11 months, but before end of 12th month] lead the prayer of Selichos?
He should not do so unless there is no one else available.
Explanation: While it is debated amongst Poskim whether a mourner who is within 11 months of mourning for a parent is to lead the prayers of Selichos, and any of the prayers of the 10 days of repentance, practically we rule that an Avel may and should do so. However, this debate is only regarding a mourner who is within 11 months of mourning for his parent, however a mourner who is within the 12th month of mourning, then since he is to specifically avoid saying Kaddish and avoid leading the prayers of the day during this month in order not to deem his parent a Rasha r”l, therefore, he should also avoid leading the prayer of Selichos, and should only do so if no one else is available. This is in addition to the fact that the attribute of severity hovers over an Avel and it is thus not fitting to have him be the messenger of the public during these days that require G-d’s mercy, as write the Poskim who negate the leading of Selichos even by an Avel who is within 11 months of mourning.
Sources: Poskim who rule an Avel may lead Selichos during the 11 months: Elya Raba 582 [end]; Noda Beyehuda 32; M”B 581:7; Kitzur SHU”A 128:8; Kaf Hachaim 581:33; Igros Kodesh 2:324; 8:236; 11:3 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:303]; Sefer Haminhagim p. 178 [English]; See Bach Yoreh Deah 384 that only mentions Shabbos; Yom Tov and Rosh Chodesh regarding the days an Avel avoids Davening for the Amud. Poskim who rule an Avel may not lead Selichos during the 11 months: M”E 581:23; Teshuros Shaiy 531; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581 footnote 93 Poskim who rule an Avel may not lead prayers during the 12th month: Rama 376:4; Kneses Hagedola 403 in name of Maharil 22; Rav Poalim 3:32; Nitei Gavriel 53:21 in name of Poskim; See Mateh Ephraim 4:2; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 53:21; Shevet Halevi 3:161 writes one may do so on occasion
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