Ki Tavo/Nitzavim-Vayeilech
Ki Tavo/Nitzavim-Vayeilech

Ki Tavo/Nitzavim-Vayeilech

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Tziduk Hadin - Accepting God's Decision as Just

By: Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim

‘Kol Baei Olam Ovrim Lephena Kivnei Maron’ – Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Din, the Day of Judgment. How are we to respond when the King of Kings is passing judgment? What message gleaned from Rosh Hashanah are we to integrate into our daily lives?

In Pirkei Avot, the Mishna states that: “When the litigants are brought before you (the Judge), you should view them as wicked people but when they leave you, you should view them as righteous people – when they accept upon themselves the judgment.” People who happily accept and embrace the decision of the Judge, humbly suspend their personal opinions, are at peace with the Judge’s decision, and are considered righteous people.

Let us think about it for a moment from a psychological perspective. A person who does not accept and come to terms with the Judge’s decision may be angry, unsettled, resentful, and perhaps even vengeful. He/she has no choice but to follow the court’s ruling, but does so with tremendous angst and resistance. On the other hand, a person who is able to accept the unchangeable reality, experiences serenity and is able to move on with a free spirit.

We learn from this that as litigants on Rosh Hashanah, our attitude should not be one of entitlement but, rather, one of complete acceptance of the judgment of the King of Kings. On Rosh Hashanah, acceptance not only renders us righteous people, but also leaves us with the psychological benefit of peace and serenity. This may be applicable on Rosh Hashanah, but how does this impact our day-to-day lives?

The opinion of Rebbi Natan in the Talmud (Tractate Rosh Hashanah) is that we are judged by God every moment of our lives. Each moment, therefore, requires a new acceptance of the will of the King of Kings. What does this all really mean in the world of practical reality? Simply put, it means accepting the reality of each moment. It means not resisting and struggling against the realities of life right now. In my experience, much of our human suffering stems not from any external or internal stimulus but, rather, from our lack of acceptance of the reality of NOW, which can never be changed. If I were to fully accept and give up struggling against the present reality of my life, I would be much more peaceful and content. When one considers this deeply, one realizes how utterly illogical it is to resist the current reality.

One may opt to create a more favorable reality in the future, but resisting the current reality without any concrete plan of change is simply illogical. The logical way to live is to first fully accept what is happening NOW and to then ask yourself: “Can I or am I prepared to embrace a plan of action right now that may lead to a different set of future circumstances?” If the answer is “YES”, then just DO IT. If the answer is “NO”, then the logical thing to do is to accept the situation fully. Why resist, worry, get angry, and/or depressed about something one cannot or will not change? Rabbi Simcha Wasserman was once asked how he maintains such joy. He answered: “In any situation, I ask myself what can be done. Whatever can be done, I do. What cannot be done, I do not worry about.”

This is not only the logical way to live, but also the Godly way to live. One fully embraces and accepts the current reality as being the will of the Judge of each moment, God himself. The Hebrew term for this is Tziduk Hadin, which means justifying the justice meted out by God. Friends, we all desire and pray to God for a year of peace, serenity, and joy. Let us simultaneously accept our lives and life situations as decreed by the Almighty and, in doing so, make peace, serenity, and joy our daily way of doing things, our modus operandi.