At the individual level, the most important prayer (or Mitzva) of Yom Kippur is the Viduy. Viduy literally means 'confession'.
The Viduy is the admission of the sins and transgressions we might have committed and for which we express regret and we resolve to keep away from.
In the Viduy we clearly say (whispering to ourselves) and articulate our transgressions in the same way one who is addicted to alcohol articulates (not just think!) and say "I'm an alcoholic" as one of the first steps toward his cure (see here).
Only when we are willing and able to verbally express our sins, it is considered that we have finally admitted them, and then -our Rabbis explain- HaShem accepts our apologies and forgives us.
The Viduy, a long list of possible transgression we might have committed, also helps us identify wrongdoings that we might have forgotten or we might have unconsciously suppressed from our memory.
Unlike other prayers it is absolutely imperative to understand what we are saying in the Viduy. Or else, admission, regret and contrition for our transgressions is not taking place. Therefore, it is not only permitted but almost mandatory to say the Viduy in English if one does not understand Hebrew.
We say the Viduy several times during Yom Kippur, each time a different version. We say it in plural, confessing transgressions that we clearly know we have not committed. This teaches us that our moral responsibilities go beyond our personal realms -when we see a friend acting wrongly we are commanded by the Tora to privately and politely rebuke him or her, and when we don't, it is considered as if we share their wrongdoings.
The Viduy is written in Hebrew, in alphabetical order.
The following text -based on a Sephardic version of a short Viduy used in Selichot- is a non-literal translation of the Viduy. It will hopefully help us understand the main ideas of the Viduy.
This text could be used in Yom Kippur alongside the other Viduyim, especially by those who don't have an English Yom Kippur Machzor.
√ Click HERE to download and print the VIDUY
√ Click HERE to read what you need to know about fasting on Yom Kippur (minors, pregnant women, sickness, how to eat when you need to eat, etc.)
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