The Yom Kippur Confession (Viddui)

A first step toward repairing a wrong

The Viddui, which means “confession,”  is a prayer recited just before Yom Kippur, and repeated many times throughout the holiday.

During the Viddui, worshipers gently beat themselves on the chest for each transgression listed. This action serves as a symbolic punishment for our hearts, which are ultimately responsible for leading us to sins of greed, lust and anger.

READ: A Guide to the High Holiday Prayerbook

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. For the full text of the Ashamnu in Hebrew and English, click here.


Audio of the Ashamnu (courtesy of Mechon Hadar)

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