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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Book Review

Everyone seems to be talking about a new book by Rabbi Benjamin Blech, entitled If God is Good Why is the World So Bad?. I have, in the past week or so, seen articles about this new book on Jewsweek and Aish.com. A guy I went out with bought me a copy of the book when we were browsing through a bookstore (don't even ask, for some reason the guys I go out with seem to find a need to give me things). I thought that it looked interesting and that I might send it to my brother, who has recently been asking theological questions lately. I wanted to read it first to make sure that it wouldn't be over my brother's head, since he doesn't have much background when it comes to Jewish knowledge. So I started slowly reading the book, reading a few pages a night when I could fit it in, with no idea that it was going to be the new book that everyone is reading. After seeing how popular it suddenly is, I decided that maybe I should devote a bit more attention to it, and since it is the Aseres Yamei Teshuvah, I wanted to focus on reading material that was good for my neshama, so I have been spending a decent amount of time on it this past week. And I have to say, it has given me a lot to think about. Last night I came across a passage that really made me think. It was talking about the reason for the death of a baby, but I feel like it can be applied to much more than just that circumstance. It was saying that sometimes Hashem gives us something and then takes it away, causing pain and suffering on our part. Rabbi Blech explains that the reason for this could be that we are in debt to Hashem and Hashem wants us to be able to clear our account. We can be in debt because of a past action that we have committed that has caused a distance in our relationship with Hashem. Because we do not have what we need to repay Hashem in the bank, He gives us the amount to be paid back, but then takes it away to repay the loan. This often causes a lot of pain and hurt, but also causes growth and through that growth, a renewed closeness with Hashem. In looking back at the things I have dealt with in the past year, I have often wondered why they have happened. I know that there is no way for me to understand the why of the world, it is only for Hashem to know. Why would Hashem send someone into my life that I thought would be part of my life forever, and then take him away from me so suddenly, for such crazy reasons (see my story)? I know that what I went through caused nowhere near the same amount of grief as the loss of a child would, but I really feel like the metaphor Rabbi Blech uses can be applied to my life as well. I was in debt to Hashem, and probably was distanced from Him in many ways. And my experience definitely did cause me to grow and become closer. So, I guess if that is what it took to teach me what I needed to learn and repair my relationship with Hashem, then it was worth it, and I should thank Hashem for putting me through that pain. And I have to say that I can now appreciate that guy who bought me the book, even if there was no way it was a good shidduch.

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