Friday, August 27, 2010

VIDUY: Why should I confess my sins in plural?

17th of Elul, 5770

As I’ve mentioned before, there are different texts of the Viduy (confession). In all versions, however, the transgressions are mentioned in alphabetical order. There is an additional element all texts of Viduy share: we confess our sins in plural. We do not say: ashamti (I am guilty) bagadti (I’ve betrayed You) but ashamnu, bagadnu (we are guilty, we have betrayed You).


One of my teachers, rabbi Baruch Garzon from Madrid, Spain, sent me recently the following conversation he had with his son Abraham when he was 12 years old:

“Daddy, I cannot lie in the Tefila... I assure to you that I have not committed all the sins that we mention in the Vidduy. Some things I did, but the majority, I did not!.

- You are right, Abraham. Our Rabbis are not forcing to you to lie. No one is saying that you committed all those sins. The Vidduy is in plural because we also are responsible for the mistakes committed by other people, sometimes because we have given our collaboration knowingly, and other times because we have seen them and we did not say anything. In both cases, we are accomplices; we share a responsibility and we must confess our fault. Not to complain, at times when we must do it for the sake of HaShem, is also a serious offense”.

Shabbat Shalom!