I am piecing together a few different ideas so I apologize if I misstate any of them.

According to the gemara in Shabbat 153a, one should repent a day before his death:

(l) (Mishnah - R. Eliezer): Repent one day before your death.

(m) Question (Talmidim): One does not know when he will die!

(n) Answer (R. Eliezer): Therefore one should repent today, lest he die tomorrow - this way, he repents every day - "B'Chol Es Yihyu Vegadecha Levanim v'Shemen Al Roshcha Al Yechsar".

One of the essential components of repentance is confession (and, it seems, a sincere statement of regret). This statement of regret and a will to change appears to be part of the tachanun prayer, and the confession is what the Vidui is all about. The two prayers, said in shacharit after the amida seem strongly intertwined (as per the comments here).

However, there are days on which we are forbidden from saying tachanun (and, it would follow, Vidui).

Wouldn't that mean, then, that on those days, we cannot do full teshuva and cannot comply with the mishna in Shabbat 153a?

Why would we institute a system of repentance and indicate that it should be a constant practice, and then proscribe its essential steps on certain days? Is repentance contraindicated on happy days?

  • Your title does not quite match the body of your question. The body seems to involve the text of the siddur rsther than the idea of teshuva. Commented May 28, 2017 at 14:11
  • I would venture to say that Tachnun is not allowed sometimes because it's a public idea of confession which are not allowed on certain days. Private confession is always a good idea per the Gemara you quoted above.
    – Earl
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 15:06
  • So could I say them if I daven b'yechidut?
    – rosends
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


I suggest that one of the blessings of the weekday Amidah (page 120) covers confession without the need to say Tachanun:

Forgive us, O our Father, for we have sinned; pardon us, O our King, for we have transgressed; for thou dost pardon and forgive. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, who art gracious, and dost abundantly forgive.

This covers the general need for confession but one can mention an individual sin in the prayer if needed, see this article.

And then see especially O Ch 118 (1) MB [4] who says,

  טוב להתודות בש"ת ויאמר חטאתי עויתי פשעתי
It is good to confess in the blessing of “Shomeia Tefillo” and say, “I have erred, I have sinned, I have transgressed.”


Din.org.il says that one does not say vidui on Shabbos.

Rav Avrohom Yosef at shut.moreshet.co.il says

מותר לחזור בתשובה בשבת ! אמירת וידוי בשבת הוא מעשה לא נכון כיון שהוא מביא לידי בכי שאסור.

One may do teshuvo on Shabbos! However vidui is not appropriate because it brings to crying which is not allowed on Shabbos.

The question is how does one manage to do teshuvo without vidui. I may suggest

(1) to do as much of the process of repentance as possible and leave the vidui over until after Shabbos or

(2) that one confesses in thought but not in words (not ideal) and repeat after Shabbos.

The Jewish Encyclopedia Daas writes about death-bed confession (allowed but not in front of women and children in case it upsets them too much.) and confession when fasting on Shabbos after a bad dream (allowed).


Amongst the entries in כמוצא שלל רב, I found the following question asked:

The Gemoro in Kiddushin 49b says

על מנת שאני צדיק אפילו רשע גמור מקודשת שמא הרהר תשובה בדעתו

If someone even a completely evil person proposes marriage to a woman on condition that he is righteous, she becomes his wife in case he has had thoughts of repentance.

He does not seem to have performed confession – how can he be a righteous person?

The author of “קרית ספר" that confession does not prevent repentance. However, the repentant person still has a positive mitzva to perform.

The Minchas Chinuch holds that confession is essential, like the Rambam and that repentance wthout confession cannot atone for the past but is good enough to make a fit person for the future.

Other answers are available there.

So it seems that according to some, repentance can be performed on Shabbos.

  • But we don't say that on Shabbat and holidays so we lose that opportunity as well.
    – rosends
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 18:19
  • so then why do we say Tachanun at all? We can just say Shemona Esrei?
    – Earl
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 19:56
  • @Earl There's more to tachanun than confession. See the Aish.com article Commented May 28, 2017 at 21:16
  • @rosends See the additions to my answer based on your comment. Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 11:25

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