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Secret of Brit Book - Chapter 5: Rectify The Brit II
Written by Michael   
Tuesday, 09 May 2006

The Road To Rectification

7. Vidui


Vidui means confession. We learned that one of the essentials of repentance is the need to verbally confess one’s sins and make the commitment not to repeat them. In addition to recent transgressions, a sincere baal tshuva should strive to confess every sin he can remember from his past. For a person who sets out on a path of constant tshuva to rectify sexual sins, one time vidui isn’t enough. The Rambam rules that transgressions confessed on one Day of Atonement are once again confessed on the following Day of Atonement, even if one has continued penitent, as is said, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” (Tehillim, 51:5. Laws of Tshuva, 2:10)

Because the stains of sexual sins are so deep, and because they pollute layer upon layer of spiritual worlds, an ardent scrubbing is needed. This can be seen in the structure of our Day of Atonement prayers. The long, Yom Kippur vidui starts during the Mincha service on the eve of Yom Kippur. In the course of the day, we repeat the detailed confession another five times, to cleanse deeper and deeper levels.  

Confession with tears shatters all barriers, as is said, “The sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O G-d, Thou will not despise.” (Tehillim, 51:19)

According to mystical understandings, tears atone for the drops of semen which were spilled in vain. The main thing is to pour out one’s heart before G-d in anguish over the damage caused by his sins.

Since thought, speech, and looking at forbidden images also cause great spiritual damage, transgressions of this nature have to be included in one’s repentance. For example, Rabbi David Samson of Jerusalem suggests that a vidui might begin like this:

“Master of the Universe, merciful and gracious G-d, I have sinned before Thee. O L-rd, who is filled with compassion, have mercy on me and accept my supplications.

“Forgive me for thinking erotic thoughts. Forgive me for reading erotic literature. Forgive me for my sexual fantasies about the girl next door, and about the woman I saw on the bus. Forgive me for making lewd jokes. Forgive me for looking at sexy photographs of women in magazines, in the movies, and on the Internet. Forgive me for gazing at girls on the beach. Forgive me for looking with lust at my friend’s wife and for desiring to have sexual relations with her....”
This is a very partial list, without even mentioning the sins of masturbation and illicit sexual relationships, just to indicate the scope and detailed specification involved in a proper confession.

Last Updated ( Friday, 29 September 2006 )
 
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