Day Nine: We are Broken
The Viddui, which means “confession,” is a prayer recited just before Yom Kippur, and repeated many times throughout the holiday. The Viddui includes the Ashamnu, an alphabetical acrostic of different sins we have committed. It is said in first-person plural, because while each individual may not have committed these specific sins, as a community we surely have, and our fates are intertwined on this day.
To recite this litany of mistakes that we, collectively, have made is painful. It forces us to look at the worst in ourselves. It challenges us to acknowledge that we are not whole - we are broken.
On Yom Kippur, in addition to the vidui that we all say together, the cantor or shaliach tzibur (prayer leader) traditionally leads us in the Avodah service. During the Avodah service we re-create the confessional ritual that the High Priest would perform each year in the Holy of Holies in the Temple. During the Avodah service, the High Priest confesses his sins and those of his family, then the sins of the tribe of Aaron (the Kohanim), and finally those of all Israel.
Today is all about admitting that our world is broken and that we can do something about it. We are the "fixers" of our world when we all work together.
The contemporary Israeli musician, Ishay Ribo has set this service to a beautiful sound track.
What Do I Do?
On Yom Kippur we all stand as the High Priest, entering the Holy of Holies to confess our missings of the mark. When performing these rituals, the Kohen Gadol wore white linen vestments. Perhaps, as you prepare to enter your "Holy of Holies" you can prepare yourself as the High Priest did. Why not find something white or new to wear on Yom Kippur.
It's important to remember that the vidui isn't just about what I, personally, have done wrong but about what I, as a member of the human family, have done wrong. Click below to learn more about some of the sins that we, collectively have committed and what you can do about them.