For those who like legal and police shows on television, the characters in the courtroom are often portrayed as dramatic, charismatic, different, indifferent, or someone you have sympathy for. According to Jewish tradition, we are about to enter the most dramatic courtroom of all. During the High Holy Days, the Yamim Noraim, the Ten Days of Awe, we are asked to review the past year, as we stand in judgment. God is the Judge. The angels are the prosecutors and defenders, and we are the ones on trial. The prosecuting angel stands before God pointing out all of the things you did wrong during the past year. The defending angel tries to counter this will all the good that you have done.

We don’t need to take this scenario literally to realize that this is an important time of the year to pause, reflect on the past, and see which way we would like our lives to go in the future. We can see the God of judgment as our conscience. Most of the time we don’t need to be told how to act. Most of the time we already know. The challenge is whether or not we always act on what our conscience tells us we should be doing. In the courtroom of your life, who is better able to describe who you are — the prosecuting angel or the defending angel?

Remember that the High Holy Days are not about punishment, but about repentance. It is hard to admit we have done wrong. It is even harder to ask forgiveness. So during these Ten Days we are given that extra push and support to be able to do this. Take advantage of this special, unique and holy time. Really take time to honestly reflect, and to commit to ways of making amends and moving forward in a more positive way. As Hillel says,“If not now, when?”

Wishing you a happy, healthy and meaningful New Year.