Jews the world over find themselves now between Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. These days are known as the 10 Days of Repentance.
What should our focus be during these 10 days. Most people will tell you that we need to look at what we have done and try to change our ways and repent. However that could be a daunting task. Where does one start in the process of repenting?
The first place to start is to make a list. List the areas that you would like to improve and work on and from that list Rabbi Yisroel Slantar says take only 3-4 things and preferably the small things so that you could actually achieve your goal. Too often if we take upon ourselves something too big we end up not being able to accomplish our goal and we get discouraged.
While I believe this is makes a lot of sense and we see it all the time with concept of creating SMART goals which are small and attainable, how do we know that this is what G-D wants?
On Rosh Hashanah we read from the Jeremiah. We read how that it will be the tears of Rachel that will cause G-D to forgive the Jewish people and allow them to return to the land of Israel. The obvious questions is what grey act did Rachel do that her tears and cries are answered while the prayers of the Fore Fathers and that of Moses were not answered. What did Rachel do she showed compassion to her sister Leah and avoided her sister from being embarrassed. Rav J.B. Soloveitchik asks, why does this act out weigh more dramatic and other presumably greater acts. He answers the following, "Sometimes it is the seemingly insignificant act, private and hidden from public view. which is more significant than the greatest acts of courage and heroism." ( Teshuva Lecture, 1972, Derashot HaRav, p 58)
The same could be said for our acts of repentance often its the simple things that we do and the things that are done privately without all the fanfare that have the most meaning both to us and to G-D
May we all merit a Gmar Chatima Tova! ( May we be sealed in the Book of Life)