Tsunamis, Jeff Jacoby, Anger, and the Ramchal

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5 Responses

  1. Michoel says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein,
    You said that very well. You very gently mention that you “also believe that tragedies do not occur when the Shechinah is closer to us”. Rabbi Miller, whom you quote, was very big in the “it happened because … ” department. I think if such tragedies don’t inspire us to t’shuvah, than we are being a bit cruel because we’re allowing Hashem’s message to go ignored. And the only way to have these events inspire t’shuvah is to say clearly that they are the result of aveiros. If Hashem saw fit to take 150,000 precious lives, than the message he wants to send must be very important to him. None of this in any way addresses the issue of which aveiros, why now, why here, tzadik v’ ra lo, and other questions. I am concerned that what Harold Kushner and others have succeeded in doing is to make those who ascribe Divine motivations to things, be viewed as arrogant dimwits in the eyes of the masses. It similar to suggesting publicly that you think the Theory of Evolution is a bunch of nonsense. Even those with no background in the subject look at you as a fool. . I agree with you substantially but just want that things should be said as they are. Ain adam nokef … I woman that my wife and I had a hand in being m’karev (she is a deeply spiritual and honest person) went from seeing the Holocaust as major kashe on Torah belief to seeing it as a great affirmation of Torah belief, after she read one of Rabbi Miller’s books.

  2. Vanity says:

    I’m just curious how it logically follows from saying that “G-d is not involved in Y” that “G-d is not ominpotent.”

    I agree that Kushner’s philosophy is not particularly Jewish nor particularly interesting (even as a system of thought), but I do not see how you can logically reduce “G-d was not involved in this” to Kushner’s position. In fact, I’m certain that, logically, you can’t.

  3. Rodger Kamenetz says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein,
    I don’t know if you read my original piece, or simply Jacoby’s summary. Perhaps if you read it you might view it in a different context, perhaps not.
    My overall point was that if we are looking for G!d in the disaster, the easiest place to look immediately is in the hearts of those responding with such generosity to it. In terms of theodicy, I cited the Talmudic aggadah in Menachot 29b. I interpret that story to mean that ultimately certain kinds of suffering are inscrutable, or that, as the Rambam suggests, there is nothing positive we can assert about G!d, the via negativa. It may well be that there are those at a high enough rung to say “this too is for the good” or to say as the Baal Shem Tov did, if it’s good enough for G!d , who am I to judge? But I am not there.

  1. January 7, 2005

    […] 1 pm

    More attempts to make sense of the disaster, this time by Jeff Jacoby and Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein. Both of them t […]

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