throwing glass stones

i can't find any previous posts where i've discussed this, but i'm sure it's in there somewhere. (yet another reason why blogs are not so useful for recording information that's meant to be accessible in the future)

The baal shem tov says that when we judge someone else, we are actually judging ourselves. I learned it first in Likkutei Moharan, but I've since come across it again in the Maor Eynayim as well as the beginning of the Notzer Hesed. Rebbe Nachman tells it loosely like this: Before God punishes us, he puts before us a person to judge. Unknowingly that person's actions reflect our own actions, and when we judge them, we are really only judging ourselves. Only if we find ourselves guilty does HaShem move forward with the punishment.

My take on this: for selfish reasons, it is highly beneficial to never judge anyone.

So, when it pains me to see people acting elitist and dividing themselves from the klal, the whole, I have no one to blame but myself. Even criticising them would only cement my own short-comings. So, instead I'm learning to find the faults in myself, being so lofty as to get upset at others for being lofty. Rather than correct them, I correct myself. Because most certainly, if I eliminate my own divisive loftiness, then God won't present me with the divisive loftiness of others, for i will have nothing to learn from it.

Years ago I came to a similar conclusion, that i'd fix myself first and then worry about the world, because if i tried the reverse, I knew i wouldn't get anywhere.

This is a deep part of the life-fu of overcoming our own small-minded limitations. Recognizing that sometimes haShem wants us to grow greater through growing smaller. When I judge someone else and find them wanting, it's myself who i've injured. [This I think is the deep pshat of Achen noda hadavar. (So, the deed is known) that Moshe utters when he says to the Rasha why do you strike your brother? and the jew responds, "So you want to kill, me?" I think the word ha'li'hargaini carries with it a subtle connotation of 'the person getting killed here is the "me", not the victim.' So the jew isn't saying you want to kill me, rather he is saying: "you're speech will kill yourself."]

Interesting that Rebbe nachman is the first place i saw this teaching, because his torah is all about how judging someone else and giving them the benefit of the doubt will actually exonerate them of their wrongs, and bring them over to the side of good, changing their very being. finding the points of goodness in others.


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