- Jewish Laws and Thoughts
- The Coronavirus Pandemic
translated by Hillel Fendel
Question: * Hello Rabbi, my mother was stricken with a very serious case of Covid-19. I was abroad before the onset of the pandemic, and was not allowed back into the country to see and help her on her sickbed, even though others with less important reasons to return to Israel received a permit to do so. Thank G-d, I was ultimately able to return, and my mother recovered completely. But I don't understand why G-d doesn't ensure that there be justice in His world? How can it be that He did not enable me to fulfill His commandment of honoring my mother, yet allowed others with far less important needs to enter Israel?
* Shalom Rabbi. I am 15 years old and was born with a severe medical problem. I visited tens of rabbis who promised me, in vain, that everything would be OK. Every year on my birthday I undergo a crisis of faith as the same question again painfully arises: Why did G-d bring me into the world with such a defect?
The Coronavirus Pandemic (32)
Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff
30 - After Corona
31 - Why Does G-d Test Me With Such Difficult Challenges?
32 - Frustration
* From the standpoint of faith in G-d, why did the Corona plague come upon the world? Could it be that everyone is wicked? If so, then shouldn't the Redemption already have arrived, given that we know it is supposed to come in a generation that is either totally guilty or totally righteous?
* Hello, I own a business, and in the wake of Corona and the various lockdowns, I was unable to make a living for my family for over a year. My children saw me in total helplessness. Happily, things are now better – but why did G-d want me to suffer? For what reason? Or could it be that there is no reason…?
Answer: During the course of our lives, we all encounter many different situations, some of which are very difficult and create great hardships. We strive to understand what could be their reasons, but generally without success. And the truth is, even if we would understand, it wouldn't help us very much – because knowing the reason we are suffering would not make it go away. We would still have to struggle with it and fight it, until we overcome the difficulty.
When faced with difficult questions, G-d expects us not to sink into the quagmire of asking "Why?" He wants us rather to invest our efforts into overcoming the problem. This is what happened when our forefathers found themselves on the shores of the Red Sea, being pursued by the Egyptians and seemingly with no way out. Moshe Rabbeinu began to pray to G-d, Who said (Ex. 14,15): "Why do you scream to Me? Speak to the Children of Israel and let them get moving!' That is, instead of crying out, "Why is this happening?" we must take responsibility and seek out what we can do to solve the problem – even if it means jumping into the Red Sea!
Several traditional Jewish sources explain that G-d purposely hides from us the reasons for evil and suffering in the world – for if a person would know G-d's reasons for allowing injustice and suffering, he would not fight against it! A person rises up against evil because he sees no purpose for it – and thus fulfills G-d's will! G-d wants him to struggle and fight against the bad that he sees around him - and not simply ask questions about it, and certainly not to ignore it.
This, then, is the "reason" for suffering: So that we will overcome it! The question that can really advance a person who is struggling with hardships is not, "Why did this suffering come upon me?" It is rather, "What is this suffering coming to teach me? What does G-d want to tell me via this hardship that I am facing?" One who deals with this type of question begins to learn new things with each aspect and facet of his struggle, and thus turns the hardship into a staircase on which he ascends and reaches higher heights.