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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Achrei Mos, Vayikra 16:6. Outsourcing Teshuva

Our parsha describes the Korbanos brought on Yom Kippur and tells us that the Kohen Gadol says vidui as he does the avoda of these korbanos.
16:6.  וְכִפֶּר בַּעֲדוֹ וּבְעַד בֵּיתוֹ  he will atone for himself and for his household. 
Rashi- וכפר בעדו ובעד ביתו: מתודה עליו עונותיו ועונות ביתו:  He confesses his sins and those of his household.

16:10.   לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו לְשַׁלַּח אֹתוֹ לַעֲזָאזֵל  for forgiveness, to send it to Azazel
Rashi- לכפר עליו: שיתודה עליו, כדכתיב (פסוק כא) והתודה עליו ו  He confesses (the sins of the Bnei Yisrael) upon it.

Mitzvah 364 in the Chinuch is the mitzva of Vidui, as derived from the passuk in Naso (Bamidbar 5:7.)  The Chinuch (from the Mechilta) explains that because the previous iterations of Vidui (such as our parsha) were associated with Korbanos, one might think that there is no mitzva of vidui without a korban, therefore the Torah says Bnei Yisrael... Ve'hisvadu.  This teaches that Vidui is a stand-alone mitzva, with or without a korban.

The Minchas Chinuch notes that certain rules of Vidui (e.g., that it requires that the person mention his specific aveira, and not make a generic admission)  are derived from Moshe Rabbeinu's vidui in Ki Sisa after the sin of the Eigel (Shemos 32:31.)  The Minchas Chinuch says that if we derive rules from Moshe Rabbeinu's vidui, then we can also derive a rule that one can do vidui through a shaliach, confess by proxy: Moshe had not sinned, he was saying the vidui on behalf of Klal Yisrael.  He supports this by citing the Rambam, who says that in the Avodah of the Kohen Gadol in our parsha, since it is to attain forgiveness for all the Jewish people, the Kohen Gadol says vidui on their behalf.  We see, the Minchas Chinuch says, that although obviously remorse cannot be done by proxy, because remorse is "be'lev," it describes a feeling, and it's not a feeling unless you feel it, but once the sinner regrets the aveira, he can do the Vidui through a Shaliach.


Almost everyone who has written about the Minchas Chinuch disagrees with him.  The idea of attaining forgiveness by having someone else say vidui seems bizarre.  However, I myself don't think there is a problem.  You just have to adjust the Minchas Chinuch a little bit.


It could be that there are two dinim in Vidui: It could be that Vidui is a din in Teshuva, and Vidui is a din in Kapara.  Or, in Yeshivish, Vidui is a din in Teshuva and Vidui is also a din in Kappara; Teshuva foders vidui, and kapara foders vidui.  Normally, when a person does teshuva with his own actions, that itself is all that is necessary to attain kapara as well, so he says vidui.  But sometimes, the person cannot achieve kapara with his actions alone, and someone else needs to step in and do something on his behalf.  When there is another person who is the mechapeir, the mechapeir needs to say vidui because the kapara needs vidui.   So, here, the Kohen Gadol is doing an avodas korban to attain kapara.  The Kohen Gadol is doing the avoda because nobody else can do the Avoda.  Since there cannot be a kapparas korban without vidui, a part of the avoda is saying vidui.  Moshe Rabbeinu also was doing something Klal Yisrael couldn't do.  Their sin was beyond help, and it was only because of Moshe's special closeness to Hashem that he could gain Kapara for us.  Since Kapara needs Vidui, he needed to, and was able to, say vidui for us.  Only the Mechapeir can say vidui. 

Technically, this would mean that a  person would not have to say vidui when he brings a Chatas, because he can't get the kapara through his own actions.  But, in fact, that's not true.  He does Smicha.  Since he does smicha, he can and must say vidui himself.  But on Yom Kippur, only the Kohen Gadol does the avoda.  Only the avoda brings Kapara.  Kapara requires that the mechapeir should say vidui.  That's why the Kohen Gadol can say Vidui.

So the point is that unlike the Minchas Chinuch, I am saying that there is a vidui that cannot be done with a shliach, and there is a vidui that can be done with a shliach.  The vidui that is a chelek of teshuva must be done by the shav.  The vidui that is a chelek of the chalos of the kapara can be done by a shliach where there is a reason that the shav cannot do the avodas hakapara himself.

Another application:
The Abudraham (here) says that the reason Chazal instituted Modim Derabanan is because you can't make a shliach to say thank you.  However, he did not mean that the shliach tzibur can't be motzi.  Of course, where there is a minyan, he can be motzi.  But it is better to say Thank You yourself.


Life lesson:
There are some things you have to do in person.  You can't get someone else to say that you're sorry or that you're grateful.  I can't tell you how many times someone has said to me "Oh, you're going to be seeing so and so?  Tell him thank you for me."  My response is always the same:  "You can't make a shliach to say thank you."  But if you don't have entree to the person you need to thank, or to whom you need to apologize, and you have to send an interlocutor, then the interlocutor can speak on your behalf.  This is an application of כל מלתא דאיהו לא מצי עביד שליח לא מצי עביד except exactly backwards.  Only where you can not do it yourself, and the mechapeir is someone else, on there can the other do it for you.


Examples of people who have trouble with the Minchas Chinuch:


  page 202





and someone else that holds that bichlal it's not shayach shlichus or shomei'a K'oneh by vidui:
the Mishnas Yaavetz.

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