Many of us approach Rosh Hashana -- the "Day of Judgement" -- with subconscious negativity: "Oh no! I'm getting judged by the King. If I don't say and do all the right things, I'll be punished!"
The truth is, Rosh Hashana is one of the most beautiful and inspiring days of the year. To understand the essence of Rosh Hashana, let's start with the most basic of all questions: Why did God create the world in the first place?
The answer is that God created the world in order to give human beings pleasure. "Pleasure" you say?! They didn't teach us that in Hebrew School!
Consider the following, based on Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto's 17th century classic, "The Way of God":
God created the world in order to give to us. As such, He wants us to have every good in the world. But there is a catch. The greatest gift is to give someone independence. So God created us with "free will" -- the ability to independently choose reality or deny it. If we choose properly, then we merit to receive the greatest pleasure available -- being close with God.
The day of Rosh Hashana is the birthday of mankind. On the Sixth Day of Creation (the first of Tishrei), Adam and Eve were created. Every year the process repeats itself as God recreates mankind anew. In effect, every year we must re-earn the "right to exist." To do so, God asks us to choose reality. To choose life.
This is the meaning of "The Day of Judgement." If we choose reality, God grants us a year of life. If we choose to be asleep, God grants us a year of death -- i.e. numbness to the meaning of life and truth. This is not because God wants to punish us; He very much wants us to succeed. But we must choose it on our own.
The main reason to choose God on Rosh Hashana is not for Him. It is for us. It is so we can benefit from the pleasure of His goodness. It is so we can experience the great things that His world has to offer. When the day of Rosh Hashana comes, it is as if God is saying, "Hello! I created the world and I want to give you every pleasure possible. Please do the things that allow Me to give to you."
All God wants to do is to give, and it pains Him to not be able to give to us in the way He wants to. God is begging us to shape up so we can become worthy to receive His abundant blessings. We must choose God to allow Him to give to us. Without Him, our ability to succeed is impossible.
Rosh Hashana is the birthday of free will. It is the birthday of ultimate choice. Do you decide to be recreated as a soul? Or do you decide to roam the world asleep all year long?