Thursday, October 18, 2012

343 - Ki Savo

Among the numerous mitzvos mentioned in this week's parsha is the mitzvah of bi'ur and viduy ma'asros. On erev Pesach after the third year of the seven year shmitta cycle, we are commanded to properly allocate any of the third year tithes that might have remained in our possession. The Torah commands us that along with the allocation one must also recite viduy, i.e. a "confession" that he has properly performed all the relevant mitzvos associated with the giving of the tithes. In a similar vein, we find that teshuva, which includes true remorse over one's actions and a serious commitment to refrain from repeating those actions in the future, must also be accompanied by viduy - a verbal confession. What is the purpose of this viduy? Once a person already regrets his transgressions and makes a serious commitment to refrain from such actions in the future, what more does the viduy accomplish?

Rav Wolbe (Ma'amarei Yemei Ratzon pg. 89) cites a Gemara to explain this concept. "Whoever slaughters his yetzer hara and recites viduy, is considered by the Torah as if he has honored Hashem both in this world and the next world" (Sanhedrin 43b). Likewise, when Yehoshua attempted to convince Achan to confess his sin of taking from the consecrated booty, he told him, "My child, please give honor to Hashem the G-d of Yisrael and confess to Him." How does one honor Hashem with a verbal confession? 

The answer is as follows. Every sin, more than it causes Hashem to distance Himself from the transgressor, causes the transgressor to distance himself from Hashem. When one commits an aveirah, he imagines or believes that Hashem doesn't see him perpetrating the misdeed, almost as if he has hidden himself from his Creator. The way to rectify such behavior is with the recitation of the viduy. We declare, "For the sin that we have sinned before You etc." We acknowledge that not only were You, Hashem, watching us as we sinned, moreover, at that very time You actually continued to bestow upon us the physical capacity which was used to commit the offense. One who acknowledges this truth and removes the partition that separates him from his Creator, has in truth honored Hashem.

Prior to the viduy we beseech Hashem, "Please accept our prayers and do not ignore our entreaties." In other words, we no longer want to pretend that Hashem ignores our actions; we are acknowledging His surveillance. With this in mind, our recitation of the viduy should take on a whole new dimension. It should be recited with a feeling of connection to Hashem similar to the way one recites Shema or the first bracha in Shmoneh Esrei. In essence we are declaring that at all times Hashem is with us, and we are expressing our true desire to refrain from pretending that He fails to take notice of our deeds. Such a viduy will certainly be accepted by Hashem. This is a perception we should bear in mind before we begin Selichos. 

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