On Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgement, we appeal to God, the ultimate Judge, not to be too precise and exacting:
‘O faithful God, as You prepare to pass judgement,
Were you to press the letter of the law in judgement,
Who would ever be found righteous before You and acquitted by such judgement?
(from the Musaf repetition)
While there’s a particular focus on the theme of Divine Judgement, God is not the only one we are scrutinised by. We are all subject to self-judgement. And while internal criticism can be healthy in moderation, in excess it can be detrimental to personal development. Untempered self-judgement, the little internal voice that says ‘you are not good enough’ can leave one feeling inadequate and incapable of achieving anything of value.
As we read the Rosh Hashanah liturgy this year, it may be useful to bear in mind, that if we are asking God to temper judgement with compassion, we should apply the same balance to ourselves. By softening our harsh internal criticism and practicing self acceptance we can go on to make the positive changes we need to enjoy a blessed year ahead.