Fair Accounting

“You’re your own worst critic,” my father regularly tells me. Also a regular reader of this blog, he was quick to make the point again after my last post.
He’s right.
And I think I’d like to take the typical teshuva theme of Elul and flip it on its head. While taking an inventory of the deeds of the past and the hopes for the upcoming year, we are encouraged to investigate the ways in which we fell short of the mark, the ways in which we intentionally and unintentionally hurts ourselves and others, the ways in which the right thing to do was clear, but we didn’t do it anyways.
It’s only fair though, in assessing the past year, to think about all of the ways that we succeeded, the ways that we even exceeded expectations, the ways that the easy thing to do would have been to quit and go home but that we persevered in, the ways that we reached out to help another, the times that a smile brightened up someone else’s day, and the ways that we strived to do better and be better, when trying again seemed too much to bear.
It’s unreasonable to think that when we stand face-to-face with Hashem, individually and as a collective, that He will remember only our transgressions.
woman with magnifying glass
As much as it feels like society is so rushed that it is the rare person who takes the time to do a proper chesbon hanefesh, a moral inventory, before the High Holidays, a rega, before the new year, in those times, we are encouraged to examine our faults with a magnifying glass (some use stronger magnification than others). But there are enough people out there who are pretty hard on themselves and need to take that time to turn the magnifying glass around in the other direction in order put things in their proper perspective and to pat themselves on the back. (These people are, in my experience, more often than not women.)
It is a Jew’s duty to walk in Gd’s ways. Just as he is merciful and forgiving, we must be merciful and forgiving, of ourselves, and of others. Before we stand before Hashem and ask for forgiveness, we must first forgive ourselves.

2 Responses to “Fair Accounting”

  1. 1 Deena August 31, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Really nice writing! Thanks for linking from your fb. 🙂

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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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