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You don’t get me

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Nobody likes to be judged, yet we commonly pass judgement on others. Why do we feel that we’re being unfairly judged? Because it’s impossible for anyone to truly understand our situation. It’s inconceivable that anyone can fully comprehend all the intricacies of our nature and nurture. And every one of our actions and opinions are inspired by the sum total of all these complexities. So it’s futile for anyone to condemn us by simply seeing us do something that seems to them unorthodox.

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“When someone sits down to talk about another person…he is judging his fellow man. One needs to be very careful about this. He should take a good look at himself and see if he is fit to pass judgement on someone else. “For judgement belongs to God”(Deuteronomy 1:17). Only Hashem is fit to judge a person, as it says, ‘Don’t judge anyone until you’ve reached his place’ (Avos 2:4)”. (Tinyana 1)

Later in the lesson Rebbe Nachman explains why it’s fitting for Hashem to judge someone? Because, as the Midrash teaches, He is the place of the world, מקומו של עולם. This means that there is no one and no thing that doesn’t have a place with Him. Only He encompasses all space. Only He knows each person’s true place and situation, (even the origin of the person’s root soul). And so only Hashem can ‘reach his place’ to judge him. Hashem is called ‘the Master of Compassion’, בעל הרחמים, so He can judge us favorably.

We see here something amazing about love and compassion. There is a strong connection between knowing something deeply and loving it. Why is Hashem the Master of Compassion? Because He fully understands our true place. By mere fact that He knows us so well, He has reason to love us. This is so true with us too. Sometimes we find that we’ll meet somebody and they turn us off. But the more we become familiar with them, the more likable they are. The Torah uses the word ‘knowledge’ for intimacy. Everyone has beauty in them and the more we learn about them, the easier it is to love them.

And here the Rebbe provides an extraordinary example of Divine compassion: Hashem specified that Rosh Hashana, the Day of Judgement, should fall out on the New Moon. This is a great kindness of Hashem, because how could we be so presumptuous to ask Hashem for forgiveness? But on the day of the New Moon, Hashem himself, if it could be, asks forgiveness for diminishing the moon. The Talmud teaches (Chullin 60b) that Hashem asks us to bring an offering on His behalf at the beginning of every month to atone for His ordering the moon to diminish herself. Therefore, we’re not embarrassed to ask forgiveness on the Day of Judgement, because He himself also asks forgiveness. The Biur Likutim adds that Hashem, of course, knew that He would regret diminishing the moon. But He did it anyways, to establish for mankind a new and greater way of Teshuva, so even if we intentionally act in ways that we know we’re going to regret, we can still turn to Hashem and plead for forgiveness.

We’re too judgmental of other people. It’s a very serious thing when we belittle people. Hashem, on the other hand, is constantly looking for our good points, so He really despises this type of behavior. Let’s try to take a minute before we dismiss someone. Let’s stop looking so much at the outside and believe there’s more to a person than how he dresses. Just accept it! You don’t know anybody! Anybody!

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