- Acknowledgement / הודאה
The good trait of “acknowledgment” is to acknowledge the truth. There should be nothing embarrassing about this for all people make mistakes. We find that the sages of the Talmud were willing to say openly, in the presence of many Jews, “I was mistaken about what I told you previously.” There is no better trait than this. It is not for naught that the Sages instituted in our prayers that we declare, “Always let a person be God-fearing… and acknowledge the truth,” for this is a matter entrusted to the heart [i.e., only the person himself knows the truth].
Another type of acknowledgement is when a person admits that he did something inappropriate, even when it is embarrassing, such as when Yehudah admitted, She is right; it is from me (Bereishis 38:26). About this our Sages said, “Whoever transgress a sin and is embarrassed about it, [Heaven] forgives him of all his sins.” Say a person succumbed to his Evil Inclination and stole some item or secretly caused some damage to his fellow — when he is confronted about it he should admit it even though he will be embarrassed about it and he will have to pay for it, for by coming to terms about it and correcting his wrong, he will redeem his soul from the netherworld. In situations such as these, one must overpower his Inclination and expose his blemish so that he may acquire his portion in Heaven. Better he should be embarrassed before several people than to feel the embarrassment in the Future before thousands upon thousands of holy angels. But if he denies it and insists that he is innocent, then he is adding iniquity upon his sin. Moreover, by his denial it will cause suspicion to fall upon others who are truly innocent, and the flames of discord will flare. He will, in the end, be brought to ultimate justice. Let him think about all this and overpower his Inclination. One who conceals his sins will not succeed, but he who confesses and forsakes them will be granted mercy (Mishlei 28:13).