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Why did God create chaos & suffering in the animal world?


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Nisan 5, 5781
Why is the animal world full of chaos? If they don’t have free will why do they have to suffer? And why does their have to be so much pain? I’m not talking about humans who have free will but animals who don’t have a destiny and can’t change their lives, why do they suffer even at a small level? Does Judaism just answer, that we don’t know? I hope this doesn’t sound condescending.
We obviously don't understand God and why He created each detail the way that He did, but one thing is for sure: the Creation is many things but surely not (!) chaotic. The exact ecological cycle is so precise and synchronized that its order is clear to all when we learned it in elementary school science. Like many things in life, if one just sees the small picture of the cat chasing the mouse, it looks chaotic, but a mature person knows to step back and see the whole picture where everything is davka in perfect order! Rav Kook deals at length with your questions, and you should study his "Vision of Vegetarianism" (part of which has recently translated to English). Nevertheless, in short, he explains that just as the prophets suffered unpopularity, and sometimes were even assassinated as a direct outcome of their rebuking, so too, the Jewish people have paid a heavy price for our role as the "Nation of Prophets", the "Conscience of Mankind" and the "Light to the Nations". Similarly the rest of mankind and in fact all of creation is based upon the framework of Free Will for mankind, to choose between good and bad. Part of which is to hear rebuke, and see examples in life, in history and in the animal world as well, which educate man to differentiate between right/moral and wrong/evil when he sees it. Nevertheless, do yourself a favor, and don't look for short-cuts on our "instant" website, and rather learn that book properly with a teacher who has studied Rav Kook.
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