Q & A Board - View Post
Author:  dave
E-mail:  rabbidw@cs.com
Date:  1/14/2005 10:51:00 AM
Subject:  Iyov and the tzunami
Message:  I know yeshivot don't teach Iyov, but I'm sure you must have studied it. Towards the end of the Sefer, Hashem appears to Iyov and does not answer his complaint. Hashem tells Iyov that Hashem is beyond human comprehension, that Iyov was not there when Hashem created the world. Iyov accepts this truth, while he did not accept the apologetics from his three friends. Hashem tells the three friends to have Iyov pray for them, as they tried to answer Iyov incorrectly, basically telling Iyov that we can understand the ways of Hashem
The gemara has a rule, OLam k'minhagah omedes, the world goes according to its natural path. Where does Hasgacha Pratis fit in with Olam K'mihaga Omedes? There seems to be a contradiction between the two attitudes. I am not conceited enoygh to think that I know the ways of Hashem. I suspect that Olam k'minhaga Omedet, the world follows it's natural path, is the general rule, and Hasgacha pratis, individual supervison is the exception. I write this as someone who feels that I have had the benefit in my own life, of Hashgacha pratis on more than one occasion.
In our own lives it is fine to say that Yissurim, afflictions, are either punishments or given lovingly. It is a way for each of us to deal with tragedies in our own lives. But to say that about others???? How can you visit a sick person in the hospital if you will tell him that Hashem is punishing him? How can you be menachem avel with that attitude? How can you give tzedakah if you think that Hashem is punishing the poor person.
The Torah tells us v'rapo Yerapeh, that we take sick and injured people to the Doctor and don't rely on the idea that Hashem must be punishing them.
You are assuming that Hashem must have wanted all these casualties and specifically, just these people, who all were deserving of whatever befell them. You then go on to conclude that there is no Mitzvah to help them. I am waiting to see some Halachic authority deal with the issue of Triage in Tzedakah, how to set priorities within our personal tzedakah budget and within the communities Tzedakah budget. I am willing to concede that local charities have a priority and that despite the magnitude of the problem, it may not meet Halachic criteria to give tsunami relief a prioity over other causes, within the context of a limited budget. But to say that there is no obligation at all, to say that we know that Hashem is punishing these specific people, many of whom are infants and small children and I must assume, that you, like Rush Limbaugh on occassion, have overstated your case for the sake of making a point. At least I hope so, because I don't have the in with Hashem that Iyov did. DW
Reply:  I am happy to see someone learning Iyov.
It is not simple to grab a sentence here and a concept there and put together some sort of Hashkafic web. I am not saying this as an insult and I hope it isn't taken that way. We have thousands of Gemaras dealing with these issues and we need to put all the concepts together in order to get the full picture.

I sidestepped that entire process by addressing the more clear undisputed aspects.

Olam Keminhago Omedet, which literally means that the world goes on it's natural course, is not a contradiction to God being involved in the control of the process. For example, when God told Avram that he will have children, he didn't just modify nature and the alter stars and viola he has a kid. No, he changed his name by adding a "Hey" and calling him Avraham, and now all the mechanics changed. He didn't just arrange for a donkey to speak to Bilaam, but rather he had to create this donkey-tongue in the original days of creation in order to have it available later.

This is not a contradiction to and fits very well with the facts of life that when God creates &/or allows catastrophies to happen, he must have been there in the decision making process. That is the "Tevaa," nature that he created. He does not cause these things. Our actions cause them. He just follows the program that he set to carry out the repercussions for the actions at hand.

The concept of a person here or there having a bad day and that just being a good thing is possible. Yesurim Shel Ahavah, suffering that are given to special people to enhance their next world even more. Or maybe a bad thing happens which later is realized to be a good thing, like maybe you hit crazy traffic and miss a plane for a real important meeting, you are all upset, but then you hear that the plane crashed.

When God does this, what we have seen out there, there is only one explanation. Sorry. If I were not in tune with reality, maybe I would find alternative explanations. The Naviim have many stories the Gemara has many stories, and if we would look at the way something like this is explained, we would know that it is simply a punishment and a wake-up call to all of us. That is not to say that each individual that suffered is a bad person. In general, however, it so. God does not bring something like this without being properly provoked. Normally a person needs to really mess up bad to warrant such an ending, but once such a thing is decreed on a mass of people, if you are in the area you need a very strong positive record in order to be allowed to get away.

That is the way the natural system works. That's how God set it. You don't need to take my word for this. Read the Torah and Navie, look around at history, and you will see this very clearly.

In regards to Iyov, why did he get such severe pain and suffering? Did you ever look into that?

Iyov was a Gilgul of Terach the father of Avraham. Terach was an idol worshipper his entire life, but did Teshuva before he died. His soul needed a cleansing that can remove that horrible past from his record. Iyov/Terach was an unbelievable soul. He fathered Avraham. He was given that chance to show that he has come back to God and is prepared to stay under any circumstances. He held out through everything and showed himself to be capable of the title and love that God gave him. In retrospect, I doubt he would have traded that period in his life for anything in the world. We don't necessarily need this kind of cleansing, but he was on a level that we cannot even comprehend. He wanted this, he needed this, he wasn't going to stay at a lower level in the real world. He said to God that he was not the man that he lived his life as. He asked for a chance to prove it and he did. I am humbled by his sacrifices.

Back to the Q & A Board