Powered by WebAds

Sunday, March 19, 2006

More Nauseating Talk of Divine Retribution

This story tops both this one and this one:
Rabbi Shimon Baadani, a member of Shas' Council of Torah Sages, provided on Saturday evening amazing explanations for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's illness.

"Ariel Sharon had a stroke because he went with Shas and hurt religious services," Baadani explained during a sermon he gave at a Jerusalem synagogue.

The rabbi also promised "hell to those who don’t vote Shas," thus extending the remarks of Shas' spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who said at the beginning of the month that heaven awaits only those who will vote for the party.
The first point is just nauseating. As I've said before, I absolutely despise these attempts to explain God's ways. We simply have no idea why tragedy befell Ariel Sharon, or why tragedy befalls anyone, for that matter. And we certainly have no tradition in Judaism that tells us that if bad things happen to someone in this world, it is in direct retribution for misdeeds done in that person's lifetime. Many righteous people are struch by tragedy, and many blatantly evil people seem to live lives that many would envy. What we do believe, is that God gives everyone what He feels they deserve in the world to come, and that it all evens out in the end. That certainly does not jibe with the statements made by Rabbi Baadani.

The second point is pretty bad as well. Now, it's one thing to promise a place in heaven in exchange for voting a certain way, as Rabbi Ovadyah Yosef did a few weeks back. I personally didn't love the implication that it was more of a campaign promise than a prediction of reward for righteous actions, as some commenters here felt. But fine. At least that statement was open to interpretation. But this one? To vote for anyone but Shas earns an automatic ticket to hell? I'm sorry, but that's a bit much for my tastes.

Only God knows who is going to hell, and why.

Hattip: Charlie Hall

16 Comments:

Blogger Heshy said...

Sharon was a Sabbath violater and thus was punished. Its black on white.

2:40 PM  
Blogger RR said...

The scary thing is that a lot of people actually believe this bunk. I share your distate for anyone claiming to know the ways of G-d. I remember one very frum woman screaming at me that OF COURSE 9/11 was punishment for our sins, and how could I think any differently?

The nerve. I mean, really.

3:11 PM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

The point we all need to internalize is that nothing is coincidental and that no act goes unnoticed (good or bad). Anything beyond that is not for us to waste time on even thinking about.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Soferet said...

BS"D
I think Sharon had a stroke because he's elderly, overweight, & has lead an extremely stressful life. You can call that "punishment" for the latter two if you wish, but I think "cause & effect" is better...
...& you're right, best to stay away from declaring what G@d's ways are...

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's bunk. And you know it. All suffering and death is because of our sins. That's religion 101. People like you who want to maintaint the facade of religion without the intellectual comittment are just hypocritical.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous jerusalamom said...

Um, anon 9:29- Yes, when you believe on the "religion 101" level, I guess everything is that simplistic. For the rest of us grown ups, we don't have the chutzpah to presume to know how Hashem directly interacts with the world.

Sorry, 1 million children didn't die in the Holocaust becuase they sinned.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous jerusalamom said...

Um, anon 9:29- Yes, when you believe on the "religion 101" level, I guess everything is that simplistic. For the rest of us grown ups, we don't have the chutzpah to presume to know how Hashem directly interacts with the world.

Sorry, 1 million children didn't die in the Holocaust becuase they sinned.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Naomi said...

Oh my gosh! I heard about this! This is so crazy. I can't stand it when someone says that I'm going to hell for this, that or the other thing. Okay - maybe I am going to hell, but I highly doubt that G-d is so petty to send me there for such frivolous reasons.

11:04 AM  
Blogger rebba shlita said...

And we certainly have no tradition in Judaism that tells us that if bad things happen to someone in this world, it is in direct retribution for misdeeds done in that person's lifetime.

ortho there are gemaras that disagree with you on this statement.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

We don't really have a Hell in Judaism -- at least, not something comparable to the Christian version as depicted in Dante.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

That's bunk. And you know it. All suffering and death is because of our sins. That's religion 101. People like you who want to maintaint the facade of religion without the intellectual comittment are just hypocritical.

Thanks anon for clearing that up. I'll pass the message along to the various Amoraim, Rishonim and Acharonim who seem confused in this regard.

2:19 PM  
Blogger David said...

And we certainly have no tradition in Judaism that tells us that if bad things happen to someone in this world, it is in direct retribution for misdeeds done in that person's lifetime.

I have to nitpick:

What about Iyov? His friends certainly attributed his suffering to a sin which he "must" have committed. The friends tend to not do so well in the halakhic literature (as they shouldn't), but that does imply at least a thread of a tradition.

In the general, I agree with you - we've got lots of psukim et al which pretty clearly tell us not to assume the direct relationship between sin and suffering, but there have always been some who disagreed with that approach.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sharon was a Sabbath violater and thus was punished. Its black on white.

My Grandpaw was not only a Sabbath violator, he was a former yeshiva student in Lithuania, and so should have known better! Plus he ended up joining a Reform Temple and being a stuanch advocate of allowing women a full role in Jewish life. In short, an apikorus by your standards.

So how did God "punish" this evil violator of the Torah? By giving him a long healthy life (he died in his late 90's with all of his faculties intact), 4 loving children (all of whom are still active in his reform Temple), 18 grandchildren (all of whom are synagogue affiliated), and (at last count) 6 great-grandchildren. Oh, and did I mention the fact that he lacked for nothing in his old age, and indeed left his children a respectable (though not enourmous) fortune?

Nothing is black and white, excpet maybe that Mr. Sharon should have avoided the saturated fats and got some more exercise. (But I should be doing that, too.)

9:35 AM  
Anonymous mevaseretzion said...

1 million children did not die in the holocaust because they sinned, but they did because we as the jewish nation did. Have you ever heard of "kol yisrael arevim ze baze"? To dismiss God's punishment as something we cannot account for is to miss the lesson He sends us with the punishment.

Anyone who has children will tell you, if your kid breaks a vase, and you put him in time out, how much sense does it make if he sits in time out, thinking, "I cannot fathom my father's ways, I cannot say this misfortune is punishment. I guess I will just keep living my life and try to escape random pain next time..."

2:01 PM  
Anonymous REReader said...

I cannot tell you how many frum people have been saying similar things. My response has always been that they must think that Sharon is one of the greatest gedolei ha'dor, since only the very greatest of tzadikim receive punishment from Hashem in this world (so as not to merit any in the next). Which is standard Jewish haskofah that many orthodox Jews seem to find more convenient to forget.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous jersualemom said...

Mevaseret-

Sorry, there's just no comparison between a kid getting a time out for breaking a vase and a million children dying for other people's sins. That's a really poor analogy. Do you punish one child because the other breaks the vase, in order to teach the vase- breaker a lesson? Didn't think so.

Also, killing six million people is in no way comperable to a "time out" and to think so is quite nauseating.

Everyone is certainly welcome and encouraged to do their own cheshbon hanefesh when tragedies occur to figure out how they can improve THEMSELVES. To think that you can start pointing fingers and know exactly how Hashem works in this world is the problem.

8:44 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home