How does a person know when his repentance is accepted?
Nobody knows. He can never know.
But one thing I’m going to tell you. When Rosh Hashanah comes we must look back and retrospect and see that Hakodosh Boruch Hu granted us a year of life. At least in this sense, He accepted our teshuva and gave us another year of life.
It’s such an egregious lack of gratitude, every year to come again and ask for another year without looking back and giving thanks for the previous one that Hashem gave us.
How much time did you spend looking back on the past year?
Look back: after Rosh Hashanah it was a beautiful season. The best weather is between Rosh Hashanah and Succos. Did you thank for all those glorious sunny days when the sun wasn’t burning, when it wasn’t as hot as in the summertime? All of nature was still in its full glory; all the foliage of the trees and all the green of the bushes were there. And it wasn’t hot and you enjoyed life.
Look how many times you ate breakfast during the past year, how many times you ate supper, maybe lunch too.
How many times you functioned normally during the year; most people weren’t in the hospital at all during the past year. Most people never broke a bone in the past year. Many people didn’t have a toothache in the past year. Even a headache! There are blessed people who didn’t have a headache throughout the entire year.
Look how many times you walked through the street safely. How many times you came home at night and everything was in order. How many times your turned on the electric lights and you didn’t find any intruders in your house.
How many times you went to sleep all night and you slept soundly, sweet slumber. A whole year! 365 days of happiness.
Of course you’ll say, ‘It’s not happiness. I didn’t strike the jackpot. I didn’t win the sweepstakes.’
Fools never realize what life is. But the wise man must look back and thank Hashem.
And therefore is it enough merely to come and ask for the next year? We have a job that we have to accomplish before we ask. We have to show we are worthy of another year by appreciating the past one.
And therefore how does a person know that his teshuva was accepted?
You know it at the end of the year of last year’s teshuva. At least that much you know. You made it till now and so get busy thanking Him for every day of this past year. For the year to come nobody knows except Hashem.
TAPE # 568 (September 1985)