Posted by: gruvenreuven | March 9, 2011

Guilt-free Tachanun

This morning after the Chazan finished the Shemoneh Esrei repetition, our Rabbi announced “No Tachanun, we have a Bris Later!”. You could just see the smiles and feel the elation that we got to skip Tachanun unexpectedly. I think that reaction is typical in most shuls that I’ve been to. But why? It’s not like on Rosh Chodesh when add Hallel and a sundry of other Davening insertions that we bemoan the extra tefilliah. Actually, some of us, (myself included) enjoy saying Hallel (Which is longer then Tachanun). So why the feeling that we got a ” bonus” when we get to skip Tachanun unexpectedly?

My theory has to do with the actual text. Tachanun also called nefillat apayim (“falling on the face”) is a collection of prayers of supplication. We ask Hashem for forgiveness for all the transgressions that we did, boldly listing them out in detail. (Willfully sinning, doing violence, evil counsel, disobedience, etc..)

When reading tachanun, I can’t help but felling guilty as I clop my chest. Yeah, done that one… Yup, could have been better there… Ok I won’t do that again…. In essence I think we dislike Tachanun, not for the added tefillah, but because we are reminded as to what a schmendrek we are. So we put out heads on our selves and ask for forgiveness. We even ask for forgiveness for all that stuff we did when we were young and stupid. Yeah, Tachanun is a total bummer. On the flip side of course, we need to remind our self how wonderful Hashem is for continually accepting our tshuvah.

Even so, I always feel guilty for being happy when we get to skip Tachanun. What did Woody Allen say about Jewish Guilt? But I shouldn’t… Tachanun is omitted on festive days. Baruch Hashem we can put our feelings of guilt a side for a day to share in a simcha.

“If you’re happy and you know it, No Tachanun”


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