Vadui - Confession

Wikipedia defines Vadui this way:

Confession (Hebrew וִדּוּי Widduy; Viddui) is a step in the process of atonement during which a Jew admits to committing a sin before God. In sins between a Jew and God, the confession must be done without others present (The Talmud calls confession in front of another a show of disrespect). On the other hand, confession pertaining to sins done to another person is permitted to be done publicly, and in fact Maimonides calls such confession "immensely praiseworthy".

The confession of a sin in itself does not bring immediate forgiveness, but rather it marks a point in time after which a person's demonstration of the recognition and avoidance of similar future transgressions show whether he or she has truly recovered from the sin and therefore whether he or she deserves forgiveness for it.

Vidui is a Hebrew prayer that is recommended to say many times during the year. It is also suggested that a vidui be said prior to sleep each night as part of the daily Heshbon (calculation) that each person does in reviewing his efforts actions inactions and words said and not said during the day.

Vadui Prayer in Hebrew

The vidui prayer is said in the order of the Alef Bet.In the direct order it represents a request for Mercy

Our Sages teach that when we judge ourselves the universe does not judge us and when we judge others the universe judges us. Keep this in mind as you review your daily actions, inactions, efforts and words said and not said.

אשמנו בגדנו גזלנו דברנו דופי ולשון הרע העוינו והרשענו זדנו חמסנו טפלנו שקר ומרמה יעצנו עצות רעות כזבנו כעסנו לצנו מרדנו מרינו דבריך נאצנו נאפנו סררנו עוינו פשענו פגמנו צררנו צערנו אב ואם קשינו ערף רשענו שחתנו תעבנו תעינו ותעתענו וסרנו ממצותיך וממשפטיך הטובים ולא שוה לנו ואתה צדיק על כל הבא עלינו כי אמת עשית ואנחנו הרשענו


Please note that the word ending nu is a first person plural.

Ashamnu. Bagadnu. Gazalnu. Debarnu. Dofie VeLashon Harah. HehEhWenu. Wehirshanu. Zadnu. Chamasnu. Talphanu Sheker Umeimeitzwotehcha mirmah. YaAtznu Atzot RaOht. Kizavnu. Kasanu. Latznu. Maradnu. Marinu Divarechha. NieAtznu. NieAfnu. Sararnu. Ahwenu. Pashanu Pagamnu. Tzararnu. Tzeahrnu Av WeAim. Keisheinu Oref. Rashanu. Sheichatnu. Teiahvnu. Taheinu. Weteiahtahnu wesarnu Meimeitzwotehcha Umeimeishpatehcha Hatovim Welo Shawa Lanu. WeAtah Tzadik Ahl Kahl Haba Ahlaynu Ki Ehmet Ahsitah WaAhnachnu Hirshanu.


Directly below is a translation by Rabbi Avraham Sutton. It is not a literal translation.

Below the Sutton translation that is a list of the items that we confess to as a community. I have found this useful in my own practice to use this list of items to make my own list of items to do Teshuvah upon.

Vidui Translation by Avraham Sutton

Vidui = Confession

Viduii/Confession before Learning

We confess our sins before learning to “clear the air” and to receive the best effect from our recitation. We confess our sins as part of the process of Teshuvah as well.

Viddui [R. Avraham Sutton translation]

We beseech You, HaShem our God and God of our ancestors! Let our prayers come before You. Our King, do not ignore our supplications, for, HaShem our God and God of our ancestors, we are not so arrogant and stiff-necked as to think that we are completely righteous and have not erred. On the contrary [we want to admit to You and to ourselves that] we have erred (chet), we have sinned intentionally [in order to satisfy our lust] (avon), and we have rebelliously committed crimes [which have caused us to become coarse and insensitive, and therefore unworthy of Your forgiveness] (pesha).

Chanoch Commentary

Note the three words that denote a mistake.

This goes for us, our parents, and the members of our families [whether now or in previous lifetimes].

Chanoch Commentary

Note that the code words parents and "Members of our families" refer to reincarnation of our own souls.

We wish to admit our guilt [but not to fall into excessive guilt which actually prevents us from doing teshuvah]. We have been ungrateful [for all the good done to us and even repaid bad for good]. We have robbed. We have been two-faced and spoken slander [behind others’ backs]. We have caused others to deviate [from the right path]. We have caused others to do wrong. We have acted maliciously. We have acted violently [and fraudulently to get what we want]. We have framed lies and been deceitful [in order to save ourselves and get others in trouble]. We have advised others to do things that were harmful to them. We have spoken falsely and not kept our word. We let our anger get the best of us. We have scoffed [and made light of serious matters]. We have rebelled [against You]. We have compromised Your truth for our own convenience. We have shown contempt [and thereby provoked Your displeasure]. We have committed adultery [and other sexual offenses]. We have been stubborn [and turned our hearts away from You]. We have sinned intentionally [in order to satisfy our lust, and have gotten caught in the web of our own rationalizations]. We have rebelliously committed crimes [which have caused us to become coarse and insensitive, and therefore unworthy of Your forgiveness]. We have damaged [the very things which are most sacred and precious to us]. We have oppressed and harassed. We have caused our parents grief and anguish. We have been stiff-necked [and obstinately ignored all of Your reminders to repent and better our ways]. We have acted wickedly [and become twisted inside]. We have corrupted [and destroyed our innate sense of right and wrong]. We have lost our human dignity [and stooped to the level of animals]. We have completely gone astray [and lost our way in life]. We have misled others to go astray as well.

Chanoch Commentary

How many Mistakes are there? Go ahead and count them!

[In sum] we have turned away from Your good commandments and ethical laws—all to no avail. But You are just with regard to any punishment that befalls us, for You have acted truthfully while we have just hardened our hearts and become more enmeshed in our sins.

List of possible items to perform Teshuvah

אשמנו = Guilt = What are you guilty of doing, or not doing?

בגדנו = Covering = What do you hide from public scrutiny?

גזלנו = Robbery and Theft = Most people do not think of themselves in this way. Consider if you have ever been late to a meeting that people needed to wait for you you are guilty of theft of time. If you have ever wasted time while employed and accepted full salary that period you are guilty of stealing from your employer.

דברנו דופי = Faulty Words = Did you ever give someone directions that you were not certain about and caused them to miss their appointment or some other catastrophe.

ולשון הרע = Evil Speech = Did you ever give someone a compliment in public? You are committing Evil Speech. It is too long to explain all this in a short time. Evil speech is telling the truth and even if you would tell the speech in front of the person you are speaking about. This is all forms of evil speech. For more information.

העוינו = Hate = Of course we think that we do not hate. Yet the Temple has not been built due to Hatred for no Reason according to our Sages. So look closely at your motivation for why you do not "like" someone.

והרשענו = To act Cruel or to do evil. = You have heard about the issue of bullying in the schools today. That takes place in the work place also. When we make fun of a person they do find out and this is acting cruel.

זדנו = To plot evil = This is dealing with the level of thoughts judging others.

חמסנו = To wrong someone using violence; destruction; injury

commentary for your information

There is no coincidence that this word which is pronounced Hamas is the Name of the Palestinian Organization which is the government in the Gaza Strip.

טפלנו שקר ומרמה = Having a suppressed or secondary attitude that causes us to exaggerate and lie = This is when we do things that end up hurting people and we did our action without really thinking things through.

יעצנו עצות רעות = Evil advice and council = When we give advice, that is accepted by the person to which we give it. That turns out wrong, we need to do tshuvah since we do not know if by giving the advice we became the cause of the other person's action. Think of the metaphor of turning on the lights when requested by someone. Who actually turned on the lights? The person who makes the request. This is a very deep Kabbalisitic Truth.

כזבנו = Lie or falsehood = If you say something polite but do not truly mean it at the internal level of your emotions and passion it is considered a falsehood.

כעסנו = Quick tempered or irascible person = the opposite of an irascible person is a cheerful pleasant easygoing person. This is why this type of action needs Teshuvah.

לצנו = To be cold or cool off - also to joke or mock or to deride = When one is busy with one's own things it is easy to appear to others as one does not care or being cold. Also there is no joke that does not belittle someone else. There is a big difference between laughter and joking and being happy and having joy in one's life.

מרדנו = To rebel or revolt - an insurrection or uprising = Consider the idea that disagreeing with authority is actually an insurrection or revolt. Of course how does one balance true disagreement? Remember the adage "there is no coercion in spirituality".

מרינו דבריך = Bitter words or sad words = How do i balance those periods when i feel down and speak from my emotional state and speaking bitter or sad words? Ultimately feeling down causes us to do negative actions since feeling down brings us farther from HaShem. We can control our state of mind.

נאצנו = To blaspheme or to abuse or to become angry = I think this is clear.

נאפנו = To commit adultery = Adultery hints to all sexual improprieties as well as jealousy and coveting.

סררנו = To disobey or to rebel = Do not mistake this as relating to Mitzvot as Commands. It relates to your not dealing Properly with the concept of "scut" which is translated as "Merit". Yet Scut has an inbuilt relationship to hierarchy and this is what it means to rebel or disobey. Doing actions that do not honor the appropriate hierarchy.

עוינו = Hostility = This relates to how open you are to new ideas and new people in your life. Do you approach the newness as an opportunity or a burden. Do you stop communication by your hostile body language?

פשענו = Transgression = In Hebrew there are multiple words that translate as sin. In this case it indicates a mistake where we overstepped a boundary. This boundary can be a societal law or a human interaction where we crossed a boundary established by another person that we may not even have been aware of.

פגמנו = To render defect; to mar; to impair. Think through your actions to determine in what way have you caused someone to think that another person is impaired or defective. A strong simple example is calling oneself or another stupid or even ignorant.

צררנו = Wrap or Bind = These can be physical bonds or emotional bonds or mental bonds on ourselves or on another.

צערנו צערנו אב ואם = Suffering, Pain, or Grief especially causing this to parents.

קשינו ערף = This is usually translated as stiff necked in the Torah. Stiff Neck indicates Stubborn and arrogant or aloof. I think this is easily understood as an item to perform Teshuvah.

רשענו = Evil = The Kabbalah defines evil as the desire to receive for oneself alone. Have you ever been involved with something that cares only for your well-being and does not take into account who or what suffers or receives pain or hurt as a result? This is evil.

שחתנו = To ruin; to destroy; to corrupt; to spoil. Have you ever spoiled someone's plans? Or Destroyed someone's happiness?

תעבנו = Abomination = This is made famous from a sexual no no listed in Leviticus. The definition of abomination is something shameful: something that is immoral, disgusting, or shameful or intense dislike: a feeling of intense dislike or disapproval toward somebody or something. Please read through this definition. What actions have you done that makes you feel this strong emotion?

תעינו = Getting lost, when i lack direction = when i lack direction what i do has no goal and therefore is a wasted action. This needs Teshuvah to correct.

ותעתענו = Deception; to delude; to swindle; to lead astray. Please realize when you suggest a path for a friend to follow; it might not be the correct path for them because when we speak words to others those words are meant for us. If they follow the advice and it is incorrect for them it takes Teshuvah to cleanse this mistake.

וסרנו = Sullen; vulgar; in poor taste; = of course we usually do not consider our values might be in poor taste. Yet if we judge ourselves we will realize that many times our decisions are vulgar and in poor taste as they want to put someone else in a level lower than ourselves.

Once one has a list of items that they decide to change they start the process of Teshuvah. One of the tools we utilize is called the Dream question. This is a tool we use when we do not remember clearly what action was done. This especially applies to actions dealing with previous lives.

Please understand the way the universe works. When you make a mistake in a previous life, you will be given the opportunity to correct that mistake in this life. So actually we do not need to correct the action from the previous life except for the actions associated with hatred for no reason.

Now i need to explain something that is a mackloket among the sages. People think that if they do a good deed it balances a negative action. Sometimes the Tzadikim will tell their followers to do some positive action to balance a previous negative action. Then less educated and knowledgeable people expand this teaching to apply it to people and situations that it is not supposed to be handled this way.

The truth is the universe must be balanced. Our negative action must be atoned for through balancing our negative action in exactly the same way. This is where the tool of a Dream Question comes into play.

Dream Question Tool

The Dream Question Procedure

1. Formulate a specific question to ask - Do this carefully. Write the question down so you ask it in exactly the same manner.

2. Sit on your bed and ask a specific question out loud to the universe. Do this as the last thing you do prior to falling asleep or prior to saying the Shema which is normally the last thing you do before falling asleep. You may whisper the question if you do not want your partner to hear the question but it is better to say it out loud.

3. You will receive an answer either in a dream or during the next day. You must be open to receive the answer and you may not understand the answer you receive. You will know that this is the answer because you will have a flash thought at the instant you receive the answer that this is the answer to your question.

4. If you do not receive an answer ask the same question up to 7 days in a row.

5. If you do not understand the answer than call me at 818-613-3457 for assistance in understanding the answer.

If the answer is unclear than at the time of the next night ask the universe to clarify the answer by stating out loud this is the answer i received - describe the answer - describe your understanding and then ask is that correct? Or asking for the universe to send you a clarification. Again up to 7 days in a row.

This is especially good to ask with respect to the cause of Hatred for No Reason. Also for determining the Beginning of the mistake. An example of this is a woman who decides to abort an unwanted pregnancy. To do complete Teshuvah one must return to the moment when the action takes place. In an event such as an unwanted pregnancy knowing the event that begins the mistake is difficult. It might be the moment of conception or the discussion with the partner where they decide together or the moment of entering the operating room. In the process of "going back to the future" which i will describe elsewhere one must know the beginning point.

Process and Halacha of Teshuvah

For a mistake between you and HaShem, follow this procedure:

1. Realize that it is a mistake.

2. Verbalize Confession to HaShem Privately not Publicly but it must be out loud

3. Decide to not do this action again and ask HaShem for help in being able to not do it again.

4. You are complete with the initial stage of Teshuvah. For complete Teshuvah see below.

Please note it is very rare that a mistake between you and HaShem does not include a mistake between you and other people. This is because in our generation any mistake we make delays the coming of Mashiach and therefore impacts the whole world

For a mistake between you and another person you must confess publicly to the person and ask him to forgive you. If he does not forgive you by saying those exact words "I forgive you" you must ask him again and again at least 3 times. If he still does not forgive you you are absolved of the mistake and he has a mistake that you must forgive him for.

You must also make amends to all that you hurt. For example - if you embarrassed someone in public. All of the people who witnessed the embarrassment have been hurt and you will need to ask them for forgiveness and make amends. We will discuss what that means later.

Complete Teshuvah

Between you and HaShem you perform the ritual of Yom Kippur and when you hear the final blowing of the Shofar your Teshuvah is complete.

Between you and other people you must "go back to the future". This is the idea of returning to that moment in time that the action (s) were performed and changing the action. You do that through deep meditation where you visualize the moment; the people who were there; the room you were in; the incident in its complete array; and change yourself so that the idea of doing that action makes you sick.

Is there a smell that makes you sick to your stomach? That is the level of consciousness you must obtain in order to reach complete Teshuvah.

Hatred for no Reason as we have explained means you want the person to not have what they have. It is not that you want it and it is ok that they have it also; it is that they do not have it and by your actions you take it away from them.

Hatred for no reason requires complete Teshuvah.

Since the discussion above indicates that we need to ask forgiveness from all members of the generation for delaying the Mashiach and that is virtually impossible. How do we go about balancing this issue?

One partial method is to do good deeds. I know i said that there is a machlochet about this but when it is impossible to ask people to forgive you doing good deeds for people who come from the same root of the soul accomplishes replacing the asking for forgiveness. Since this is a specific issue between the root of your soul and the root of every other person's soul. Thus it works according to the Sages.

We will speak towards the energy of the month of Elul. We will be having a Rosh Chodesh Elul Connection on Wednesday August 16 2023 at 7 PM West Coast time. We hope you will join us for this.