• Rachel Shifra Tal

The secret to God's mercy


We are entering the day of Judgment for the world in less than 12 days.

Rosh Hashana is the day the world is judged and our fate for the coming year is written down; who will live, who will die, who will have money, who will struggle, who will have health, and who will not. Entering these high holidays, we usually feel a sense of trepidation and fear. Our country is in lockdown and the fate of the nation rests on those daily updates....who will have a business go under? Who will go back to school, who will stay home? Will we see our family or friends? We watch the news each day with an eye on the latest numbers, trying to predict what the newest alert level will be. Sounds a little similar to Rosh Hashanah? In each scenario there are things we can do, the key to staying sane is to identify them and do them. Stay in our bubble...staying home, keeping our distance and keeping to a routine for our mental and physical health. What about coming up to the day of Judgment, what can we do to prepare? To get to a favorable outcome? There is so much we can do! Gathering our thoughts about this last year, examining our character, our behavior and beginning to dream! Yes dream! Dream of a world free from hatred, from pain, poverty, human judging human unfavorably, gossip, pain, illness. A world where we look out for one another, where lines are not drawn in the sand in hatred. Where the benefit of the doubt is given. A world where we have a chance, an opportunity and ability to favorably judge our fellow human with compassion and kindness! What a beautiful dream! There is a beautiful Jewish concept, where is GD? The answer, GD is wherever you make space. The more space.....the more GD pours into your life. Approaching the days of Judgement, we need to judge our fellow humankind the way we want to be judged! When we are quick to write off someone as stupid, uneducated, the wrong political view, and label them as traitors or scum; how does GD judge us? Do we then have the Chutzpah turn to GD and beg for compassion?!?! Where was ours when we outed an entire group of people on Facebook as morons because they think differently than us? We scream about tolerance, where is ours? We decide others have no humanity and treat them as lesser people ....but where is our humanity? It isn't a one-way street!!! Then we turn to the Borei Olam and ask for tolerance for our indiscretions.... What about when we put ourselves down? I am too fat, too lazy, a bad mother or friend.....where is our compassion for ourselves? Namely....where is our forgiveness? How can we ask our creator for forgiveness if we don't even forgive ourselves? What about the tremendous accomplishments we did this year? Where is our pride and joy at overcoming the obstacles we faced! Do we congratulate ourselves on getting to shul even if it wasn't every week....what about that week we came!!? That prayer we said....the charity we gave, the smile we donated, the friend in need we called? Where are those merits!? We must gather them! Look Hashem! I could have stayed in bed this day, yet I got up and went to a Shiva minyan! I went to visit an elderly friend, I volunteered for this organization! I put this effort in!!! I kissed my kids today! I didn't yell at my spouse! I even complimented the guy! Hashem! Please give me a year of health so I can continue my work in this world! Please give me enough parnassah so I can repair the world and help others! Please give me a year of life! Please judge me with compassion and I will double my efforts to do the same with my fellow humans. Please show mercy on my transgressions and I will show mercy to those I disagree with in my life. I bless us to always be aware of the two-way street this world is, and how the one above works. May we look at ourselves in the mirror with compassion and kindness, may we look out into the world with that same compassion and may GD shower mercy upon us. Amen.

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