BiFold 2 - United Synagogue Youth

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BiFold 2 - United Synagogue Youth

POVERTYHUNGERMURDERRAPEABUSEANGERGUILTEVILSUFFERINGOMNIPOTENTNATURALDISASTERSANGERPAINSUPPORTFAITHREWARDPUNISHMENTCONTROLCHOICEHOPEGOODNESSILLNESSHow can we believe in God,if there is suffering in the world?Does God control the existence of evilor the extent of our pain?


.הֵ‏ פֵ‏ רוּ בֵית־יִשְׂ‏ רָ‏ אֵ‏ ל וּבֵית יְהוּדָ‏ ה אֶ‏ ת־בְּ‏ רִ‏ יתִ‏ י אֲשֶׁ‏ ר ...כָּרַ‏ תִּ‏ י אֶ‏ ת־אֲבוֹתָ‏ ם:‏ לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַ‏ ר ה'‏ הִ‏ נְנִי מֵ‏ בִ‏ יאאֲלֵיהֶ‏ ם רָ‏ עָ‏ החָ‏ לִ‏ לָה לְּ‏ מֵ‏ עֲשׂת כַּדָּ‏ בָ‏ ר הַ‏ זֶּה לְ‏ הָ‏ מִ‏ ית צַ‏ דִּ‏ יקעִ‏ ם־רָ‏ שָׁ‏ ע וְהָ‏ יָה כַצַּ‏ דִּ‏ יק כָּרָ‏ שָׁ‏ ע ...ANGRY/VENGEFUL: “The House of Israel and the House ofJudah have broken the covenant which I made with theirfathers.” Assuredly, thus said the Lord: “I am going to bringupon them disaster.” (Jeremiah 11:10‐11)UNJUST: God threatens to destroy all inhabitants of Sdom fortheir evil acts. Abraham questions God’s justice and bargainswith him by asking if he really is going to “bring death uponthe innocent as well as the guilty, so that the innocent andguilty fair alike?” (Genesis 18:25)COMPASSIONATE: “And the Lord said: I have marked well theplight of my people in Egypt and have heeded their outcry…Iam mindful of their sufferings. I have come down to rescuethem from the Egyptians and to bring them out of that... land…” (Exodus 3:7‐8)::SAD/REGRETFUL: “And the Lord regretted that the Lord hadmade person on Earth and the Lord’s heart was saddened.”(Genesis 6:6)JEALOUS: “And where are these gods you make for yourself?Let them rise and save you if they can. In your hour of calamity…whydo you call on Me to account?” (Jeremiah 2:28‐29).וַיֹּאמֶ‏ ר ה'‏ רָ‏ אֹה רָ‏ אִ‏ יתִ‏ י אֶ‏ ת־עֳנִי עַ‏ מִּ‏ י אֲשֶׁ‏ רבְּ‏ מִ‏ צְ‏ רָ‏ יִם וְאֶ‏ ת־צַ‏ עֲקָ‏ תָ‏ ם שָׁ‏ מַ‏ עְ‏ תִּ‏ י מִ‏ פְּ‏ נֵי נֹגְ‏ שָׂ‏ יו כִּ‏ ייָדַ‏ עְ‏ תִּ‏ י אֶ‏ ת־מַ‏ כְ‏ אֹבָ‏ יו:‏ וָאֵ‏ רֵ‏ ד לְהַ‏ צִּ‏ ילוֹ מִ‏ יַּד מִ‏ צְ‏ רַ‏ יִםוּלְ‏ הַ‏ עֲ‎תוֹ מִ‏ ן־הָ‏ אָרֶ‏ ץוַיִּנָּחֶ‏ ם ה'‏ כִּ‏ י־עָ‏ שָׂ‏ ה אֶ‏ ת־הָ‏ אָדָ‏ ם בָּ‏ אָרֶ‏ ץ וַיִּתְ‏ עַ‏ צֵּ‏ באֶ‏ ל־לִ‏ בּוֹוְאַ‏ יֵּה אֱ‎הֶ‏ י אֲשֶׁ‏ ר עָ‏ שִׂ‏ יתָ‏ לָּ‎ יָקוּמוּ אִ‏ ם־יוֹשִׁ‏ יעוּבְּ‏ עֵ‏ ת רָ‏ עָ‏ תֶ‏ ... לָמָּ‏ ה תָ‏ רִ‏ יבוּ אֵ‏ לָי כֻּלְּכֶם פְּ‏ שַׁ‏ עְ‏ תֶּ‏ ם בִּ‏ ינְאֻם־ה'‏וְאָנֹכִ‏ י אָמַ‏ רְ‏ תִּ‏ י אֵ‏ י אֲשִׁ‏ יתֵ‏ בַּ‏ בָּ‏ נִים וְאֶ‏ תֶּ‏ ן־לָ‎ אֶ‏ רֶ‏ ץחֶ‏ מְ‏ דָּ‏ ה נַחֲלַת צְ‏ בִ‏ י צִ‏ בְ‏ אוֹת גּוֹיִם וָאֹמַ‏ ר אָבִ‏ י] תִּ‏ קְ‏ רְ‏ אִ‏ י]־לִ‏ י וּמֵ‏ אַחֲרַ‏ י א ‏[תָ‏ שׁוּבִ‏ י:[DISAPPOINTMENT: “I have resolved to adopt you as My childand I gave you a desirable land – the fairest heritage of allnations; and I thought you would surely call me ‘Father’ andnever cease to be loyal to me. Instead, you have broken faithwith me.” (Jeremiah 3:19)TEACHER OF RESPONSIBILITY: “Your conduct and your actsbrought this upon you; this is your bitter punishment”(Jeremiah 4:18).דַּ‏ רְ‏ כֵּ‎ וּמַ‏ עֲלָלַיִ‎ עָ‏ שׂוֹ אֵ‏ לֶּה לָ‎ זֹאת רָ‏ עָ‏ תֵ‏ כִּ‏ י מָ‏ רכִּ‏ י נָגַע עַ‏ ד־לִבֵּ‎ :לָמָ‏ ה ה'‏ תַּ‏ עֲמֹד בְּ‏ רָ‏ חוֹק תַּ‏ עְ‏ לִ‏ ים לְעִ‏ תּוֹת בַּ‏ צָּ‏ רָ‏ ה: POWERLESS: “Oh God, why do you stand aloof, heedless intimes of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1)הָ‏ פַ‏ כְ‏ תָּ‏ מִ‏ סְ‏ פְּ‏ דִ‏ י לְ‏ מָ‏ חוֹל לִי,‏שִׂ‏ מְ‏ חָ‏ הפִּ‏ תַּ‏ חְ‏ תָּ‏ שַׂ‏ קִּ‏ י וַתְּ‏ אַ‏ זְּרֵ‏ נִיEMOTIONAL SUPPORT/PROVIDER: “You turned my lamentinto dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me withgladness.” (Psalm 30:11)UNRELIABLE: How long, O Lord, will You forget me forever?:How long will You hide Your face from me? (Psalm 13:2)עַ‏ ד־אָנָה ה'‏ תִּ‏ שְׁ‏ כָּחֵ‏ נִי נֶצַ‏ ח עַ‏ ד־אָנָה תַּ‏ סְ‏ תִּ‏ יראֶ‏ ת־פָּ‏ נֶי מִ‏ מֶּ‏ נִּי


“God, who neither causes nor preventstragedies, helps by inspiring people to help.”—Harold KushnerWe help in Godly ways through goodness wecan provide for others in pain.“The world is mostly an orderly, predictableplace, showing ample evidence of God’shandiwork and thoroughness, but pocketsof chaos remain.”—Harold KushnerNatural disasters teach us that no one is immuneto tragedy, regardless of actions;natural disasters are not “acts of God.”God sometimes tests us to see how committedwe are to our faith, just as Godtested Abraham. We can shape our faith ofGod’s role in our suffering or it could bethat God’s place in our suffering can shapeour faith.We can either reach out to God for help aswe suffer or turn away.“We may not all be guilty, but we are allresponsible.”—AJ HeschelWe are punished so that we takeresponsibility.Rav Yossi, son of R. Yehuda, said:“Welcome are sufferings for the name ofGod rests upon the one who suffers.”—Rabbi Natan, the son of Rabbi Yossi, said:“Suffering yields gifts from God.”(Sifrei Ve’etchanan, Piska 32, pg 56)We need to suffer to believe in God.“Yours is the limitless power that puzzlesour minds; we try to conceive it butcannot, such is its greatness.”– Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Keter Malchut 3Only God can understand God’s power.We are made in God’s image. Sufferingcan help us become more compassionatebeings. We can exhibit God’s characterof Rachamim or compassion by supportingor being with those in need.We are made in God’s image but we arenot God.We have been given the ability to choosebetween right and wrong. Some peoplechoose to do evil.God doesn’t commit evil, people do.“Everyone shall die for his [her] owniniquity.” – Jeremiah 31:30God is just and fair, people get what theydeserve- the good are rewarded, evil arepunished.United Synagogue YouthUnited Synagogue of Conservative JudaismPortions of this material were excerpted from Esa Einai: Visions of Holiness in the Everyday,Nina Beth Cardin, New York: United Synagogue Youth, 1997

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