Judgment or Understanding???
By Chana Klein
It’s before Rosh Hashanah.
I sit in a shiur (class) listening to the rebbetzin teach that if you don’t do the holidays, then you don’t have a share in the world to come.
I see a class of women learning about the holidays, really good women, who care and who try and who fail, and who pick themselves up, and try some more.
They are expressing anguish at the thought of another Rosh Hashanah and the thought of being judged.
They express that they can’t wait until it is over.
And it has not even begun.
And I wonder.
Can’t they see how good they are?
Can’t they see how much God loves them?
Can’t they see that He understands why they do whatever?
My whole life, it was God, and only God, who understood me, who responded to me.
I never felt judged by Him.
He was my only friend, my only constant companion, who lifted me and kept me alive at times and successful at others.
He was the only one who did NOT judge me.
But no matter what I did,
No matter whether I practiced an addiction, or hurt myself in some way,
or if I did not practice Judaism the way I was taught,
the only one who really understands why I did, and do what I do, is God.
I don’t feel judged by God because He is the only one who really understands.
He knows where I came from.
He knows how much I have grown.
He knows when I resist growth and He understands the why.
He understands who I am, and how I am, and why I do what I do, and what makes me do what I do, and think what I think.
How can I be guilty in the eyes of God if He really understands me?
When we really understand another, it is senseless to judge them.
Isn’t that true of God?
The child who steals a cookie because it is the only way to get a sweet.
The woman who cries all night because she is not loved and at times does not apply herself to Torah during the day.
The man who spins his wheels because he can’t focus on his work.
God is not judging him because God understands.
The teen who got lured into behaviors that everyone disapproves of except his peers,
Each of us who has done what we are ashamed of,
Isn’t it God who really understands?
When you really understand someone, do you judge them, or do you love them more?
Do you want to help them?
Or do you want to punish them?
My Whole Life
My whole life I have felt like the only One who understands me is God.
How can I feel judged or even fear His judgment?
How can I see myself as anything but loved?
I can’t see God as mean, or as judging, or as wanting anything for me but good, His good.
It is Man who creates the evil, the hurt, the rejection.
It is Man who judges and lays it on God.
But for me, I just can’t see anything from God but endless support, understanding, and love.
Do I have it all wrong?
If I do, it’s okay.
Because I am happy this way.
I don’t want to try to believe any other way.
Why would I want to bring such suffering upon myself as I watch the anguish on the faces of the women in the shiur?
I thank God for all I have
And I thank Him for all I don’t have.
God is good to me.
He is NOT my judge.
Man is my judge.
God is my support.
The Meaning of Judgement
The days of judgment mean God is holding us closer to him and paying more attention to us.
God cares what we do.
Everything we do matters.
God looks at our effort at how much we care.
It never says that God is looking to find fault.
Judgment means God cares what we do
He is understanding and forgiving when we care.
Otherwise why would he offer us so many opportunities built into our calendar?
What the Stories in Tanach Show Us
In reading thorough the Tanach I see that even those who do terrible sins are forgiven when they care and communicate with the Almighty. In reading the book of Judges (Shoftim,) I was horrified reading some of the atrocities done by the main characters.
But in each story, when that person cared and repented or considered God, nothing really bad came to them because of what they did.
The God in my life understands me, cares about me and does not punish me unless I don’t care.