Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshios Acharei Mos & Kedoshim

Reacting to Tragedy

To a great extent, reaction to defeat and tragedy is the true defining moment of oneís inner strength and faith. Aharonís silence in the face of the loss of his two older sons is reckoned in Jewish tradition as an act of nobility and sublime acceptance of the unfathomable judgment of Heaven.

Contrast Aharonís silence and humble acceptance of fate with the response of Iyov to his troubles and tragedies. Iyov has a great deal to say, to complain against, to bitterly question and to debate almost endlessly with his companions and visitors as to the unfairness of what has befallen him.

To the human eye, we are all aware that life and its events are often unfair. There is no one that I am aware of that has successfully ďexplainedĒ the Holocaust. So it seems that we are faced with two diametrically opposed choices as to the proper response to mindless fate and tragedy. Are we to remain mute and silent or are we to rail against the arrogant fate that has brought misfortune to us?

The Torah does not seem to inform us about this and in fact, as shown above, apparently even contradicts itself regarding this continually recurring facet of human existence. Yet the Torah and all of the books that it contains is one seamless whole, and the seeming contradictions lie within us and not within its holy words and exalted ideas. Thus we are brought to study this matter with greater introspection and with less judgment and personal bias.

I think that the Torah means to teach us that there is no one correct, one-size-fits-all response to the failures and tragedies of life. Aharon is correct in his response to inexplicable tragedy and so is Iyov. King Solomon correctly noted that there is a time for silence and a time for speech. So too there are people for whom mute silence is the proper response to tragedy and there are people who must give expression to their feelings of grief and frustration by words, debate and even complaint.

In most instances the rabbis of the Talmud voted for silence over speech and acceptance of oneís fate over complaint and public debate. Yet the rabbis did not exclude the book of Iyov from the biblical canon of holy books. In that act of inclusion they allowed for varying degrees of response to troubles and travail.

Iyov also has a place in the pantheon of heroic human views regarding tragic events. Within limits and with a faith-based attitude one can question and complain, express wonderment and even somehow demand answers. But, deep down, all humans understand that they cannot fathom Heavenís wisdom, decisions and the individual fate that is visited upon us all. So the death of Aharonís sons serves as a template for life, a lesson for all of us.

Shabat shalom

Rabbi Berel Wein


Crash course in Jewish history

Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Make it a Habit
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Constant Taking is Self Destructing
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Leisure Time
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

> The Seven Noachide Laws
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5769

No Fear, No Fair
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Law and Order
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

ArtScroll

The Purpose of Creation Part III
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

Wine and Window Washers
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Beshegam Hu Moshe?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Hashem's Promise
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Don't Shout at Me!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Parshas Noach
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Best Policy
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5765

Compounded Interest
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

In His Generation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Internal Beliefs Have External Effects
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information