The Secret to Judging Favorably on Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashanah is also known as Judgment Day. We enter a proverbial courtroom and face G‑d’s verdict of the past year. The day seems solemn and can cause horror, but if you look at how we celebrate the holiday, it doesn’t fit at all. We put on beautiful clothes and invite friends and family to a lavish celebratory meal of exotic fruits and exquisite meats. This is unlikely to be the behavior of a defendant in court. How can we bridge the gap between this dichotomy?

Let’s start with a story. The Klausenberg Rebbe shared a beautiful thought after experiencing the concentration camps of the Holocaust.

There is one thing I miss about the Holocaust. When I walked the death march, we were all clean-shaven, and our hair was shaved off, too. We all marched side by side and no one knew if the person next to him or her was a Hasid or a Litwake. No one knew I was a Rebbe. We all just wrapped our arms around each other and tried to keep each other warm and our fellow Jews warm. I miss that about the Holocaust.

Because we’re only human and can’t see the inner workings of others, all too often we look at each other and are quick to judge by looks or clothes.

Of course, it’s natural to judge based on external factors.

Imagine the following scenario: A police officer stands at an intersection barking orders and waving his arms to help the traffic flow. Imagine the same policeman making the same gestures, but he’s wearing a pirate costume. As viewers, we will have a very different relationship with the officer because of the clothes he wears.

We often relate to others based on appearances; Our challenge is to mimic the way Hashem judges by stripping off the outer shell and seeing the person for who they are.

Also Read :  Secret Meaning Behind Woman's Necklace from Fiancé Sickens Internet

Sometimes we judge people by their clothes and sometimes we judge them by their actions. While it is human nature to judge people, the Torah requires us to judge on the side of merit in most cases.

One morning I was going about my routine while my then nine-month-old was crawling on the floor. I went to the closet and saw a dry cleaner’s hanger lying sloppy on the floor. I started smoking. I thought, “How could my husband leave such a dangerous hanger on the floor? Doesn’t he know our baby could get hurt?”

Then I realized that it was my Dry cleaning hangers. I had left it there. Suddenly all the excuses came to me: I was in a hurry; I have not noticed it; I had to take care of the crying baby etc.

I was extremely generous when it came to judging myself, but I didn’t show the same courtesy to my husband.

The next time you find yourself in a position where you have done something that others could easily judge you for, consider your reason. (For example: I left the dry cleaning hanger on the floor because the baby was crying and I had to run to her.) Then take that apology, put it in your head, and pass that apology on to someone else— almost like you’re paying them up front.

This applies to even the most banal of situations. Suppose you wanted to text someone back – you even wrote the reply but didn’t get a chance to hit send. Days later, you realize your text never got through.

The next time someone doesn’t respond she, remember your own situation that you filed. With that in mind, it becomes easier to judge your friend positively.

A positive review isn’t about making up unrealistic excuses: “She’s late because an elephant crossed the road and blocked traffic.” It has to be believable. We make it believable by connecting it to something that happened to us.

Also Read :  James Gunn Pitches in Secret, Dwayne Johnson Eyes Superman – The Hollywood Reporter

If we are late due to factors like traffic or a child needs something while we were on our way out, we should write that reason in and use it in relation to someone else.

When my daughter Nava was a preschooler, she asked for ketchup on every bite of food (even pickles). One night at dinner I brought her a plate with a hot dog and a bun with her usual ketchup. Surprisingly, she was disgusted. In an irritated voice, she yelled, “I don’t want the ketchup! Uiii!” as if Ketchup were an extraterrestrial from outer space.

I was shocked and frustrated by her reaction. Her needs and wants felt like a moving target.

I stayed calm as she asked (read: demanded) me to wipe off the ketchup and to make sure no trace was left, to wash the hot dog. She also asked for a fresh bun – god forbid she should see any leftover ketchup. I did some damage control quickly and in no time her hot dog was as good as new.

Dinner continued and as the meal progresses I’m sure you can’t guess what she asked me to do…

“Wait what?!” I thought, “After she made a stink because she didn’t want the ketchup!?”

She ONLY wanted the ketchup on her plate but not touch any of her food (because that would be just silly, right?). At the end of dinner she sheepishly asked if I could help her put ketchup on her second hot dog. If it doesn’t come full circle, I don’t know what will.

Although I get frustrated at times, this time, instead of expressing anger, I’ve reminded myself that she’s just a kid with evolving tastes.

Also Read :  'Dancing With the Stars' season 31: Charli D'Amelio, Mark Ballas are Mirror Ball champions

How could I stay cool? Nava’s behavior reminded me of an experience I had when I was pregnant.

I was in a restaurant and ordered minestrone soup. With my taste buds heightened from pregnancy, the soup was the best I had ever eaten. In fact, I insisted on having it the next night as well. However, less than 24 hours later, I had a sip of the very same soup and nearly spat it out because it tasted so awful. I even asked the chef if he made a mistake and he assured me it’s been the same recipe for 11 years.

With this reminder of my own fluctuating taste buds, I was able to control my anger at my daughter.

Assessing yourself positively is usually more natural; it is a challenge to extend the benefit of the doubt to others. The stories we have told ourselves to apologize for our past mistakes help us to forgive the mistakes of others in the present.

G‑d judges us differently than people judge each other. He judges us as individuals and does not compare us to one another. He knows and understands our inner demons more than we understand ourselves. Unlike the human court, Hashem judges with mercy. When we judge others with benevolence, Hashem reciprocates tenfold. Knowing this, we have the confidence to dress up and enjoy celebratory meals, knowing that Hashem uses compassion and favor when judging us.

If we judge others with kindness, we can be sure that Hashem will judge us kindly. May we all deserve to rejoice in positive judgment this Rosh Hashanah.

If you found this content useful and want to further our mission through our Keter, Makom, and Tikun branches, please consider becoming a change maker today.

Source link