I went to the supermarket the other day with my oldest daughter. We stepped out into the Jerusalem heat. Chatting with her, I pushed our shopping cart along the sidewalk. There was a woman pushing a shopping cart in front of me. Between us there was a full cart without anyone. I reached ahead to push the ownerless cart out of the way so we could get by. The woman ahead turned and yelled at me. It was her cart as well.

Obviously, I hadn’tI hadn’t known it was her shopping cart known it was her cart. I wasn’t pushing her; I was just trying to move the cart out of my way. Regardless, she had no right to yell. The question was how should I react to her anger?

I stopped because my ears heard a bunch of loud syllables, but I knew that there was so much more to hear in order to see the bigger picture. You see, sounds and syllables make up words, and words make up sentences. But we need to hear more than just noise to understand what is truly going on with another person.

I tried to put myself in her shoes. This was a woman who was trying to push two full carts in the boiling sun. I listened carefully.

I handed my daughter our cart and I took the other woman’s cart and I said, “Where is your car? I have free hands. I can help you.”

Her muscles softened and so did her voice. “Thank you.”

It’s amazing how when you understand that there is more than just what you hear that everything is heard differently. You judge things differently. You look for solutions instead of trying to blame. You fix what can be fixed and learn for the next time what you cannot control.

As a doula, when I accompany a woman on a birth, I cannot measure the progress of her labor based on her perception of pain. One woman might have a high tolerance and another one that is quite low. One woman might feel fear and tension, another is more relaxed and able to just go with the flow.

One woman comes into labor prepared with relaxation tools and a calm nature, while another has fears and traumas from the past. So many factors affect how she will feel the pain of birth and how she’ll handle it.

It’s important to take my personal experience and perception of pain and put it aside as I try to step into the other woman’s shoes. What is good for her? What will help her? What kind of support does she need?

To attempt to feel another’s pain is no easy feat. But we can try. We can remind ourselves that there’s so much that we don’t know or understand when it comes to the pain of another.

And it’s not just in birth that we need to realize that there is so much more than what meets the eye. This is true in so many areas of our daily lives.

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah—the New Year—we read from the book of Samuel the story of the prophetess, Chana. Chana had no children and went to pray in the Tabernacle.

As she fervently prayed with all her heart and all her pain, someone saw her. It was Eli, the High Priest. He was suspicious of her behavior and her intense manner of praying. He took this to mean that the woman before him, Chana, was drunk. But he misunderstood that Chana, a righteous woman, was just praying devotedly for the son she was later blessed with—Samuel (Shmuel), the great prophet.

How did Eli make such a mistake? He didn’t see this woman’s story. He didn’t get inside her pain. He jumped to conclusions without fully listening to her predicament. He did not know what was going on inside her heart.

We read about Chana onThere are reasons behind a person’s actions Rosh Hashanah, about how she was remembered and blessed with a son on this auspicious day of prayer. But perhaps we also read about Chana to teach us a very valuable lesson on this day of judgment.

We do not understand what’s going on with someone else. There are reasons behind a person’s actions, even if the reason is simply that he didn’t know—or she wasn’t taught, or he was curious, and she didn’t understand. Or that the pain they felt was too great to bear. If even Eli, the High Priest, could make such a mistake, realize that you may be seeing something that may look wrong, but in reality, it’s not what you are seeing at all.

On Rosh Hashanah, each of us stands directly before G‑d, asking for life, as the sages teach that each person passes, one by one, before G‑d in judgement.

Why? Because only G‑d can look into our heart and know our thoughts. Only G‑d can understand our actions entirely. Only G‑d knows the full truth of what happened. And as we’re being judged, we, too, can think about all the people in our life and have a bit more compassion and understanding, more forgiveness and acceptance. We can accept instead of judge; forgive instead of bearing a grudge.

And we can help bear someone’s else’s load.