The following is the text of the dvar torah I gave this past Shabbat at Congregation Bnai Jeshurun in New York City. Its written to be heard, so might read a little weird - but the ideas are there. Enjoy!
It is Elul, the time leading up to the Yamim Noraim, the HHD. We are tasked with Teshuvah, with a return to our inner selves, with the mission to seek out who we really have been in this past year, and to judge ourselves - before Yom Kippur, when God and only God is judge. But Judgement is a complicated word. It stirs up emotions. It makes us uncomfortable. We use it in so many ways. When I first think about judgement, it is personal, it is about how I make decisions, about who I am and how I act. But it is also about others. It is about how we approach those around us, and how they approach us. We act, and when others see what we do or hear what we say, they judge us. Its human nature I think, its just how we are wired to behave. Of course, that does not mean we have to like it… I cant tell you how many times someone else has told me I did something wrong and I have said “don’t judge me.” But deep down I always know the truth, that I have no right to say that. No right because I judge others constantly, no right because we are all judging each other all the time. And in any case, its not really what I mean. When I say “don’t judge me” what I really mean is “judge me fairly” “consider my position, my experience” “listen to me before deciding about me.” I know that it is by my judgement that I am judged, and I want others to understand where that judgement came from.