Monday, February 18, 2013

"Theirs not to reason why"

Hurricane Sandy had displaced my family to my brother's abode for a Shabbos. His father-in-law was there as well, and he was expressing his annoyance as reasons and meaning were being attached to the destructive storm, humans claiming to know Hashem's "thought process."

He chanted: 

כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם, וְלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם דְּרָכָי — נְאֻם השם

(From Yishayahu, 55:8)

He continued: "Hashem says, 'My thoughts are not your thoughts, your ways not My ways,' and because He knows no one will believe Him, He says, 'N'um Hashem,' 'I promise you!' Hashem promises us that!" 

It became so clear to me, with that affirmation, that we are so susceptible at looking at events with a truly primitive eye. There is so much at stake beyond what our puny human minds can grasp. 

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

We can't be expected to know what it all means. We aren't supposed to know. There is only one message we can be sure of: Being kind, welcoming, and considerate to all. As for everything else, we cannot possibly comprehend, and God is all to aware of that.

Looking back on history, there are such horrific tragedies, both natural and man-made, that have plagued humankind. The only way we could have held on to our religion to this day is if we understand that we don't understand. We aren't meant to understand.

As a child I had a book called "The Man Who Rode With Eliyahu HaNavi" by Leibel Estrin. In the Gemara, R' Yehoshua Ben Levi would converse with Eliyahu regularly
After R' Yehoshua sees much that he cannot comprehend, he finally insists on reasons from Eliyahu, who explains to him (without even factoring in gilgalim or Olam HaBa) how all of his actions, as God's emissary, were just. 

Focusing on the why does not help, or really matter. We should do as we always should, which is love our fellows. Which is much harder than it sounds, and needs constant, unending work. 


The Beckster said...

Agreed. As frustrating and painful as it is, we are not meant to have answers in this world. I also don't like when people exclaim "Hashem did this because of XYZ or ABC..." How on earth do WE know? This world is too vast and complicated to solve even the smallest mystery performed by G-d. Looking forward to some answers though when Moshiach comes. That's my only consolation.

Princess Lea said...

Eh, I don't need to know. I'm too lazy.