#BlogElul 20: Judge

#BlogElul graphic

It’s Elul again!

Yom Kippur is the Day of Judgement, when we expect all of our sins to come home to roost. Here is what I wrote about it last year.

There’s lots of scary imagery in the liturgy about this – the King seated on the Throne of Judgement, holding the scales between justice and mercy. On the other hand there’s also a lot of comforting imagery – my favourite is the part in which G-d is compared to a shepherd who takes care of His sheep, counting each one and making sure none is lost.

The voice of the shofar calls us urgently on Rosh HaShanah, 100 blasts each day, to make sure we wake up and do our calculus of the soul, the cheshbon ha-nefesh. It’s good to start the new year with a clean slate, with good intentions and great expectations.

We do, however, tend to do a lot of judging ourselves, of a type that is maybe better left to that Throne of Judgement. We are quick to declare others to be evil, malicious or just plain stupid. But who can know the depths of a human soul? Generally people have very good reasons for what they do, even if to our shallow eye it looks foolish or self-defeating.

I’m looking forward to learning the tools to help people explore these depths for themselves, so they can understand their own thoughts and feelings and work on improving their own lives. It’s not judgement that is required here, but compassion and understanding. Sometimes that’s hard to achieve.

What do you think, can we all resolve to be a little less judgemental and a little more compassionate? It’s a challenge, but one I hope to be up for – how about you?

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5 Responses to “#BlogElul 20: Judge”

  1. Holly Jahangiri Says:

    Perhaps they have good reasons for judging, too, and in judging them to be “too judgmental,” we are actually being too judgmental, ourselves.

    Then again, being somewhat judgmental is a useful thing if we’re going to live in society – after all, surely we cannot believe that everything is right, and nothing is wrong.

    Can we judge – if we strive to understand and be compassionate at every turn, rather than harsh and dismissive and un-loving?
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted…The “Like” Diet: Going on MaintenanceMy Profile

  2. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    I agree that complete relativism, where nothing is right or wrong, is not a desirable moral state. But that’s not what I was advocating ;-). Maybe just that people do a little more research before they declare someone evil or stupid … of course, maybe many people are evil or stupid. But I choose to believe there might be more to them than that … I don’t like writing people off.

    Thanks for the response, Holly!

  3. Lynne Says:

    “Generally people have very good reasons for what they do, even if to our shallow eye it looks foolish or self-defeating.” Well said, and I like the compassion within. This is so timely for me, for I have been trying to be less judgemental, and have had some success, but when I find myself judging others for being judgemental, I realize I have work to do :-). I think there can be only one Judge, as you say. LT

  4. Lynne Says:

    Holly, good points! I myself do believe in evil and low-frequency people who I do wish to avoid. For me, it’s more intuiting who I wish to be around, without judging so much as just allowing them to move on, if that makes any sense….? Like “nothing to see here, move along.” I feel that some people are not good for me or my family, so I guess that is a judgement of sorts…oh sigh.

  5. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    Lynne, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with choosing to surround yourself with people who lift you up, as opposed to those who bring you down. I guess it’s more of an internal thing, that I feel it is better for my mental hygiene not to think bad thoughts about people … but that doesn’t mean I have to hang out with them.

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