#BlogElul 20: Judge

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

#BlogElul 2013My assessment of myself takes into account things that never gone beyond the confines of my own skull. Thoughts, feelings, intentions — they’re all real to me, even if nobody else may subject them to scrutiny.

If I judge myself more kindly because of all the times I thought really hard about donating to this charity or volunteering for that cause, is that a realistic assessment of myself if I never made my nice thought into a concrete action in the world?

If I judge myself harshly for the nasty remarks that flitted across my mind or the anger that flared within me, even though I refrained from saying something hurtful, is that a true appraisal of myself?

The word l’hitpalel, usually rendered in English as “to pray,” actually means “to judge oneself.” Perhaps the One to Whom I pray can help me figure out how to balance the actions that others see with what I know I am capable of doing, and thus help me see myself more clearly.


#BlogElul, the brainchild of Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, invites participants to chronicle the month leading up to the Jewish High Holy Days through blog posts, photos, and other social media expressions.

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