Title: Viduy Booklet for Kids
By Adina Broder
Close to fifty years ago, as a twelve-year-old yeshiva bachur in an out-of-town yeshiva, I was introduced to the Viduy booklet which had first been published that year. I was inspired to carefully read through the entire booklet so that I could understand what the words of Viduy meant. Some of it applied to me, some didn’t, some I didn’t understand. A few years later I was even more ambitious, I decided to enhance my Ashamneu with the Viduy of the Chida. In it, the Chida lists numerous possible transgressions for each letter of the Aleph-Bais. I gave up when I reached the Aveiro of Histakalti B’Levanah, I stared at the moon. I couldn’t relate to that as an Aveiro.
Making Viduy meaningful is a challenge. On the one hand, we need to take our admitting that we have transgressed seriously, truly regret what we have done and resolve not to repeat it, and at the same time not to become depressed or give up on ourselves for our shortcomings. There are a number of different approaches taken by the commentators throughout the generations, from the Chida’s aforementioned lengthy Viduy, to the Viduy booklet and the commentary in the back of the Artscroll Machzor, to the approach of certain Chassidic groups which encourage us to run through the Viduy quickly and not wallow in the mud of our sins.
“Viduy Booklet for Kids,” written by Adina Broder and geared to the 9-14 age group, is an attempt to find some meaningful middle ground for middle schoolers. The author researched each line of Viduy and presents it to the reader in an age-appropriate manner that is also not overly burdensome by offering only one explanation for each line of Viduy. The booklet also includes an introduction as to what Viduy is, although I would have liked to have seen a longer introduction that would have made the entire concept more palatable and understandable for today’s youth. Or, perhaps, there is only so much one can teach about the matter and the reader will either find a connection by his or her self, or not.
From the reviewer’s perspective, being asked to review this booklet has given me the chance to engage in introspection as to my own relationship with Viduy. In correspondence with the author, it became clear to me that we can approach Viduy Im K’Banim Im K’Avadim, either as children, or as servants. If we view Hashem as a demanding taskmaster who we may have failed, we will see the process of Viduy, and teshuva as a whole, from one perspective. If we see Him as a loving father who only wants what is best for us, we will experience teshuva very differently.
I would encourage parents and educators to utilize “Viduy Booklet for Kids” as a tool to make Viduy meaningful for kids (as well as for adults!), and to use it as a launching pad for a discussion of the role Viduy plays in the process of teshuva.