When Rosh Hashanah is ushered in, there is an excitement about greeting of our Melech, the King of Kings, an opportunity to be close to royalty. Yet when we think of Hashem’s power to see us inside and out, we become frightened because we realize that He will see our shortcomings and faults. As we sway and pray, to the onlookers it may look as if we are doing well, but He sees those lapses in our concentration and inadequacies.
How can we be successful when Hakados Baruch Hu knows the truth? The Koshenitzer Maggid explains the following piyut of the Rosh Hashanah shemoneh esrei:
יודע מחשבות בדין – כובש כעסו בדין
as follows: Hakados Baruch Hu is yoda’a machshavos, (knows thoughts) meaning he sees through us to our innermost thoughts, which may frighten us. However, He is also koveish caaso (suppresses His anger), meaning that he understands the frailty of human nature and suppresses His anger, opting to judge us just on our external pose. This definitely gives us hope. If we do the minimum of at least going through the motions properly, we should merit to not only koveish caaso badin but also we should merit to רחם עמו ביום דין—that Hashem should have mercy on His people on the Day of Judgment.