Hey Mimi, How are you?
I read your post on your blog, and I was strongly effected by it. The question of why do bad things happen to good people and bad all together has been something that I've searched and asked for a long time. After I read your post I sent it to my father and asked him what he thought .Normally I wouldn't send this, his response to you, but take a few steps back; it's not anything personal it's the theology behind it.
I asked my father if he minds me sending this to you, and he said he, "I don't care if she hates me but I care if she hates Hashem".
It is poetic.
It is immature.
It is theologically wrong.
They are not the words of a wise person with Yiraas Shomaim.
She's not R. Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev, she's an American kid.
She hasn't lived long enough; what does she know about suffering?
Who is she and who is G-d?
Who told her it's OK to be angry at G-d?
Who said it's OK to "hate You today?"
Perhaps today is a day to feel pain and humility and awe?
Who said it's OK to have expectations and make demands?
Perhaps today is a day to focus on what we are here for and to ask G-d if we are living up to His expectations and His demands of us?
Words are very powerful. They can create and they can destroy.
It is not only G-d's words that are like fire; a person's words can be incendiary as well.
The right words can heal a broken heart and the wrong ones can destroy a healthy soul.
I wouldn't be asking these questions if she were a Holocaust survivor; I would hang my head and listen humbly, silently.
I do ask them if she a young person who is just beginning her adult life. She speaking out of turn and out of line
While I understand your father's response (and even find it praiseworthy on some level), I cannot accept the expectations and premises inherent in his statements.
My piece was not intended to tell people how they should feel, but meant to represent how many of us do feel.
It is fine if your father does not relate to my outburst, but to expect more from people is unfair. What I wrote was a reflection on the gut-feelings of many, sewn from the collective responses I heard and experienced. Someone from the family (a child of the parents who passed away) read it herself, related, and wants to use it on the family's site.
So your father may not think its "okay" - but it is real.
Sure, saying ‘its human” doesn’t make it right. In fact, Judaism usually demands we rise above our own humanness. But I believe that what we’re dealing with here is a kind of humanness that is more than appropriate.
Your father is right. I have never experienced what one might call true suffering, and I pray that I never will.
But this is precisely why I can scream out to G-d the way I did.
Your father maintains that a more appropriate response to pain would be to “feel humility and awe” and acknowledge G-d’s expectations of us.
But you see, this is not the place of someone who has not experienced the pain herself.
What your father calls “theologically wrong,” I call humane.
How can I tell people about being gracious and counting blessings if nothing “bad” has ever happened to me? How fair would it be for someone who has never experienced real pain to preach to others about understanding G-d’s ways and “focusing on what we’re here for?”
Now that would be "immature."
Furthermore, while we are demanded to personally stand upright in the face of pour own pain; we should never ever do so on the behalf of someone else’s suffering.
While it may seem counterintuitive, this is my experience: it is always the mourner that comforts everyone else. While those unaffiliated to the tragedy rejects the situation and cry out in disbelief, it is always the “victims” that come to a calm acceptance that, yes, “we don’t know G-d’s ways.” And, while your father seems to maintain that this is everyone’s role after a tragedy, I believe it is only a role rightly assumed by the victims themselves.
So it is our own pain that we should see as good, and never the suffering of our neighbor.
As to your fathers comment that “I don't care if she hates me but I care if she hates Hashem” - an idea that is clearly at the core of your father’s response – it is an attitude I oppose most strongly.
G-d doesn’t need our defense. Some people care more about protecting G-d than advocating the cause of our people. Personally, I believe I should care much more about hatred between fellow Jews, than hatred of G-d. I don’t think your father is foreign to this concept. I would even go beyond that to say that, on a human level, hatred of G-d is usually warranted. But the point is this; as a nation, we are there for each other first. We ask G-d questions on our friends’ behalf before swallowing the pain and “understanding his ways.”
As for the accusation that I have no Yiraaas Shamayim (Fear of Heaven), indeed I have a long way to go. But if you read the entire piece, you will see that, while I address the instinct response, I end off with the strong acknowledgment that it is only G-d that we can turn to and seek comfort from. While my piece did cover a sort of inner evolution, I thought this closing point was very raw and clear (much like I felt it personally).
It is my most sincere prayer that such discussions will soon be rendered obsolete, with an end to suffering altogether.