Teshuva means returning to our best selves and to the Divine. According to Maimonides (R' Moses ben Maimon, 1135 – 1204) the way to practice Teshuva for wrongful behavior is as follows:
Ceasing the behavior in question;
Resolution to act differently in the future.
Confessing our wrongdoings is certainly important and worthwhile, and it plays a central role in the Yom Kippur prayer services. But to focus only on our wrongdoings is to risk losing sight of who we really are.
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865 – 1935) therefore suggests an additional practice in Ein Ayah (The Falcon's Eye), his commentary on sections of the Talmud.
His suggestion, of articulating our positive deeds, has inspired Rabbi Avi Weiss to create a positive confession or vidui, which is presented below.
How might you adapt it to reflect your own needs this Yom Kippur?
What do you want or need to acknowledge, thank and praise yourself for at this time?
Ein Ayah on Mishna Ma’aser Sheini 5:10
The Torah has given us a path of awakening: a person needs to also rejoice themselves sometimes by articulating the good deeds that they have done, in the appropriate measure, in order to strengthen their heart in [Divine] service.
Positive Confession (Vidui) by R' Avi Weiss
We have loved
We have blessed
We have grown
We have spoken positively
We have raised up
We have shown compassion
We have acted enthusiastically
We have been empathetic
We have cultivated truth
We have given good advice
We have respected
We have learned
We have forgiven
We have comforted
We have been creative
We have stirred
We have been spiritual activists
We have been just
We have longed for the Land [of Israel]
We have been merciful
We have given full effort
We have supported
We have contributed
We have repaired
עין איה על משנה מעשר שני ה:י
נתנה לנו התורה דרך להתעוררות
שצריך האדם שישמח גם כן לפעמים
בביטוי שפתיים על מעשה הטוב אשר עשה
וכפי המדה הראויה
לחזק לבבו בעבודה
וידוי חיובי של הרב אבי וייס