Wrestling with the Divine
"The existence of suffering is the greatest challenge to faith?because it undermines the most central premise of our faith: that G-d not only exists, but that He cares and He listens." Rabbi Shmuel Boteach, author of The Wolf Shall Lie with the Lamb: The Messiah in Hasidic Thought, addresses the fundamental Jewish question of reward and suffering in this enlightening and riveting new volume. How can one maintain unwavering faith in a benevolent G-d in light of events such as the Holocaust and the ever-present threat of incurable disease? Didn't G-d insure Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a good and bountiful life for their offspring? Of what use is the Creator of man, who, having called him into existence, subsequently decides to abandon him to fate and the elements? This book sheds light on the collective suffering of nations in general and on that of the solitary human being in particular. It also offers a lengthy rebuttal to the "powerless G-d" thesis of Rabbi Harold Kushner's "When Bad Things Happen to Good People". Judaism sees death, illness and suffering as aberrations in creation that were brought about through the sin of Adam in Eden. In "Wrestling with the Divine", Boteach claims that man's mission was never to make peace with suffering and death, but to abolish them from the face of the earth by joining G-d as a junior partner in creation. By using such physical tools as studying medicine, giving charity, and being there in times of need and by using such spiritual means as protesting to G-d against injustice and demanding that He correct the flaws of the world, we help usher in an era when only goodness will prevail over the earth.
by Shmuel Boteach
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