Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Another Sham Shiur

I was walking in my neighborhood recently, and I saw a sign for a shiur entitled "Let's End the Tragedies." Sounds like another cure-all kinda shiur to me!

My guess is that the rabbi will say that our aveiros cause tragedies (what else)? He'll probably say something to the effect of, "we should daven harder and stop doing aveiros."

a)First of all, if a small group goes to the shiur and is inspired, while there are other Jews out there who are still committing aveiros, how can we be guaranteed that there will be no tragedies? And even if the guy will say "kol yisrael areivim" and that we should rebuke the others, who said they'll listen? In which case, perhaps it's impossible for a small group of Jews to prevent tragedies.

b) Who's to say that every tragedy is a result of our sins? After all, there is a concept of "yissurim shel ahava"-- "pain of love." It's certainly a difficult concept to understand (I think it has something to do with G-d wanted to bring out the mesirus nefesh of the ones He loves), but I've heard it many times before. Apparently, a tragedy isn't necessarily a bad thing. And furthermore, not every tragedy is a consequence of an aveirah! I just don't get it.

c) Sometimes bad things can happen as a result of bechirah. G-d gave us bechirah, and as a result wrongs can occur to people who don't necessarily deserve it. Rabbi Benjamin Blech discusses this concept is his great book, "If God is Good, Why is the World So Bad?" He brings proof the story of Cain and Abel. Abel was a good guy who gave his best sheep as a korban to God. Why did he deserve to be murdered? Rav Blech wants to say that this was a result of Cain's bechirah. Cain had the option of killing Abel, and unfortunately he used that option. Once again, not every tragedy is the result of sins.

It's definitely true that we can prevent some, perhaps many of the tragedies amongst us. But to simply "end the tragedies"? I don't see it. And if a person goes to the shiur and subsequently something happens R"L, what are they supposed to think?


Blogger Steve Cohen said...

It almost sounds like we are violating the mishna of (sorry for the transliteration) "al tiyhu kaavadim hamishamshim es harav al m'nas l'kabel pras." Also point c) is a highly debated philosophical issue which I will not go into here other than to mention the gemara of "hakol bidey shamayim chutz mitzinim pachim."

6:07 PM  

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