There is a plague in the religious world. In all religions. The disease is ‘judgement’. People look down on others because they are less observant, not following the ‘true’ path & not doing things ‘right’.
A rabbi once visited the great Lubvaitcher Rebbe and said he was involved with “kiruv rechokim” which means ‘bringing close those who are far away’. The Rebbe said not to ever use that term. Who are we to say who is far away from God? These people are the children of Abraham and Sarah.
Who are we to judge others?
I had a radical thought while standing in shul last weekend. Those people who fidget, who are distasteful, who distract us from our spiritual growth…they ARE our spiritual growth.
We are made “in the image of G-d”. The Kabbalah (Zohar) teaches that everything is G-d – everything, everywhere – it is all One. The theory of everything-is-unified-even-though-it appears-we-are-separate. Just like mobile phones – you can’t see the network but you know they are connected (except our souls are beyond 4G).
These unkempt people are all fragments of God. When we are busy trying to reach God and getting annoyed by the person who is distracting us or not doing it right…imagine them suddenly removing their mask and revealing that they too are part of God. Like The Secret Millionaire in the end-of-episode reveal.
One of my teachers often says that “judgement is toxic”. It is poison. It can literally kill us. We judge others & judge ourselves. In the world of energy medicine, this judgement gets stuck in the cells, metastasizes, contributes to causing cancer and who knows what else.
At my 13-hour-a-day acting conservatoire I missed the first day of our year because it fell on Yom Kippur. Apparently our teacher opened with an important lesson about judgement: “While you are here at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, never judge another student’s performance. If you do, your brain will pick up the habit, you will think they are judging you and it will in turn damage your acting”. A poignant principle that applies universally.
Let’s leave judgement to the One True Judge and focus on our job at hand: to Choose Life.