Often translated as "judgements," dinim are actually the natural spiritual consequences of one's deeds and thoughts. Of course, these spiritual consequences are often experienced physically, i.e. illness, financial loss, etc.
With Tisha B'Av upon us and then dealing with the rest of Av and its Lion mazal (for more information on dealing with Av's Lion mazal, please see the Kli Yakar on Parshat Devarim), and then sliding into Elul, this is a particularly important time to sweeten any harsh stuff hanging overhead, whether on a personal level or the national level—or both.
I am still not Breslov, but I've been going through Sefer Hamiddot (you can download a free PDF of it here) and found the chapter on Sweetening Judgement/Hamtakat Hadinim particularly helpful:
- Recite Tikkun Chatzot.
- "When you stay awake the whole night, by this you are saved from dinim." (This is something comforting for parents of wakeful children to keep in mind.)
- Learning mishnayot of Zeraim sweetens dinim.
- Tzedakah transforms dinim into chessed (loving-kindness).
- Reciting Tehillim 39 and 77 sweetens dinim.
- To battle the decrees of the nations against the Jewish people, recite Tehillim 62.
- "Through bitachon [trust in Hashem], the din is sweetened and chessed is drawn forth."
- Crying [not in accusation or self-pity against Hashem] sweetens dinim.
- Being depressed draws forth bad mazal and via bad mazal, the attribute of harsh din dominates. [So try to fight depression by expressing gratitude for whatever you can.]
- "One who wants to sweeten dinim should not drink any wine the entire day."
- When you hear someone making accusations against the Jewish people, you should toil to find a meritorious reason behind the criticized actions.
- Immersing in a mikveh annuls suffering and brings salvation.
- One who accepts suffering with love is as if he (or she!) brought a sacrifice. [Bringing a sacrifice to the Beit Hamikdash sweetened dinim. The Kli Yakar in Parshat Tzav explains how that works.]
- When a person sees that dinim rest upon him, he should tell of those who hate him and justify them. ["Tell" implies telling Hashem and not other people, as that would be lashon hara.]
Now, that last one is interesting. Contrary to certain stereotypes, we know that Judaism does not encourage masochism or codependency. Justifying those who hate you should not lead to: "I deserve to be punished and abused because deep down inside, I am innately very bad and icky." And contrary to what you sometimes hear in some classes, halachically forbidden behavior (i.e. hating you unless you are completely and intentionally evil) is never "okay" or acceptable or excusable.
Just for knowing, the Hebrew word translated here as "justify" is יצדיק, the root meaning "right" or "just."
If I understand it correctly, it's very similar to thanking Hashem for suffering. Even if you can't emotionally appreciate your suffering, it's possible to intellectually accept that it is somehow for your benefit in a way that only Hashem understands.
Basically, you are just seeing the other person's point of view.
For example, did you once do something that gave someone else the totally wrong impression of you and they just can't let go of it? Even if they're wrong and should really give you the benefit of the doubt, can you at least understand intellectually and objectively why they feel the way they do?
Or maybe you really did do something wrong and the other person just can't forgive you--even though you sincerely apologized and tried to make it up to them. While they're wrong not to forgive, can you understand why they can't? Given their background, their experiences, their blind spots and stumbling blocks, and their personality, can you somehow "justify" their feelings about you?
Or you might discover that you actually did do something wrong, and this grants you the opportunity to make amends for and rectify it.
Doing all this should not lead to depression or self-hatred.
Remember the paradox of us having free choice while Hashem is still deciding every last little detail of our lives and actions.
Whether you did something to create a hater or if someone hates you for no reason (or for the wrong reason), that's also from Hashem. It seems that this exercise is not about the other person, per se, but about Hashem.
I think it's hard and uncomfortable to do at first, but difficult and uncomfortable acts are usually the most powerful. I do not know how the following will sound to you, but the first time I tried this, a young cat suddenly entered my little yard just as I finished.
“I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them, and I did not return until they were destroyed.” (Tehillim 18:38)
That sounds pretty sweet to me!
I felt sure this was a sign that justifying my haters had worked.
Then the seat of my chair collapsed and I fell through and got stuck.
Fortunately, my 13-year-old was around and he held out his arm to let me grab hold of him while using a pear tree for leverage as the chair's legs collapsed, too. I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear that I made it out okay. Thank God for bar mitzvah boys! Anyway, perhaps harsh dinim were transferred to my chair and it was all a kaparah (atonement).
May Hashem greatly sweeten ALL our dinim, both our individual dinim and our National dinim.