חרטה

Another important to know during these עשרת ימי תשובה is חרטה, or regret. One of the keys to repentance is to regret the improper deeds that we have done with the resolve that they will not be repeated. The Rabbis speak of חרטה as a kind of prerequisite to doing Teshuva. One must not make excuses for himself or rationalize to justify bad behavior. By demonstrating true regret, we are not likely to repeat the offense. Once we have achieved חרטה which is accompanied by real disappointment in ourselves, we have pretty much finished the job. It becomes unproductive to dwell on our shortcomings. The ability to recognize and show remorse, will allow us to move on. There is a certain balance that we must keep between being too much down on ourselves and complacency. The יצר הרע is tricky and we are not to get off course from serving Hashem with great joy, on the one hand, and humility, on the other.