Thursday, August 26, 2010

VIDUY: Specific and personalized.

16th day of Elul, 5770

There is a discussion among the rabbis regarding the performance of the Mitzva of Viduy, confession of our sins. Should we be specific and detail our transgressions when we confess or is it enough just to mention generally: ”I've sinned, I made mistakes, I've rebelled against You”?.

Maimonides asserts that we should specify our own sins. His evidence is that when Moshe Rabbenu addressed God to ask forgiveness for the sin of the 'golden calf' he said: “This people committed a great sin, they made for themselves a god of gold' (Shemot 32, 31). Moshe specified the nature of their 'great sin'.

Following Maimonides' opinion, our Rabbis elaborated different versions of the Viduy, enumerating the possible transgression we might have committed. As we whisper each category of transgressions, we should focus and introspect in each specific area, and reflect if indeed we might have committed a sin in that area, admitting it and determining not to repeat it again.

Moreover, many rabbis advice that, before Yom Kippur we should retire to ourselves for a while to honestly review our misdeeds and bad habits in our hearts. Then we should write our own personalized list of transgressions in a piece of paper or a post-it-note or and attach it t our personal Machazor (=prayer’s book) and when we say the Viduy go over our own personal list, admit, regret and determine to abandon our bad deeds.