Man Plans… G-d Laughs

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6 Responses

  1. Bob Miller says:

    All due precautions need to be taken, but their success once taken depends on the Will of G-d. It is still unclear whether the Japanese power companies went far enough with precautions or not, especially with their oldest nuclear facilities close to retirement.
    Regardless, news media whip up hysteria at the drop of a hat, for their own benefit, not necessarily ours. The hysteria itself can then be part of the news coverage.

  2. Yossel says:

    You’re a bit too optimistic. It appears that one reactor has lost all coolant,is in imminent threat of meltdown and is causing an evacuation of a 50 mile radius.

  3. Daniel F says:

    Rabbi Menken offers important perspective. However, I am bothered by the title of the post. Besides for the negative connotations vis a vis G-d “laughing” at such a tragedy, is the point really that their was some hubris involved in the safety standards?

  4. Yaakov Menken says:

    I admit I was expecting someone (or someoenes) else to respond to the above comments. It is radiation from the spent fuel rods that is causing concern in Japan right now. Chernobyl exploded with the reactor in full operation, and to this day there is a 30 km exclusion zone around the plant — entire villages are uninhabitable, and will be ad biyas go’el. I definitely agree that it’s way too soon to call this an “impressive triumph” for the nuclear industry, but it is certainly an interesting counter perspective to the panic expressed in most of the media.

    Further, I cannot see any sign in my post of G-d laughing at tragedy, nor that there was any hubris in the plant safety standards. On the contrary, the point was that we cannot possibly account for every eventuality, and thus need Divine protection regardless of what we believe we might have accomplished.

  5. sarah shapiro says:

    It has been said that one who doesn’t believe that all things are gam zu le tova, is committing apikorsus. So this is not to say that in the grand scheme of history, this event, like all events, was not meant to be.

    But if we are looking at the situation from a narrower, more mundane perspective– with eyes of flesh and blood–Rabbi Menken’s view seems unjustifiably optimistic.

    One can say only that the nature of this disaster is probably different from Chernobyl, not that it will be less harmful. The truth is that no one knows the answer, not even experts in the field.

    Chernobyl itself is an open, unanswerable question. The so-called “sarcophagus” which Russia devised, supposedly to prevent leakage, was laughable in 1986 and has proven to be–not surprisingly, given the nature of radioactivity–vulnerable to wear and tear from time and the weather.

    If fuel rods in Japan are exposed to the atmosphere, the effect on children and unborn children around the world is especially an unknown, not to mention the effect on adults, and the long-term global effect on the food chain and ground water.

  6. chareidi leumi says:

    >It has been said that one who doesn’t believe that all things are gam zu le tova, is committing apikorsus.

    The Chazon Ish says that not all things are “gam zu le tova” in אמונה ובטחון:

    טעות נושנת נתאזרתת בלב רבים במושג בטחון. שם בטחון
    המשמש למדה מהוללה ועיקרית בפי החסידים, נסתובבה במושג
    חובה להאמין – בכל מקרה שפוגש האדם והעמידתו לקראת עתיד
    בלתי מוכרע ושני דרכים בעתיד, אתת טובה ולא שניה – כי בטח יהיה
    הטוב, ואם מסתפק וחושש על היפוך הטוב הוא מחוסר בטחון. ואין
    הוראה זו בבטחון נכונה, שכל שלא נתברר בנבואה גורל העתיד אין
    העתיד מוכרע, כי מי יודע משפטי ד׳ וגמולותיו ית׳.

    וממדת הבטחון להעמיד עצמו על נקודת האמונה אף בהעלותו על
    מחשבחו צד היסורים ושיהי׳ לבו ער כי לא המקרה פגעתו, שאין מקרה
    בעולם כלל רק הכל מאתו ית’

    It is clear that his POV is that bitachon means seeing all as being from Hashem – NOT to apply to everything that happens the category of “good”.

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