Monday, July 15, 2013

Pain and objectivity

Tradition tells us that these past 3 weeks have been a time of mourning. The temples in Jerusalem were both destroyed. Many horrific events in Jewish history happened now. Be careful; it may happen to you. Don't travel. Don't swim. Don't eat meat. Don't buy anything new. Don't wear clean clothing. Feel the pain of others.

I hate pain. Friends pain, my pain and even a strangers pain. Yes, I know;does anyone like pain? I hope not. Does anyone look away from others pain? Yes. Does anyone see or hear about pain, say "that's horrible", feel their pain for a bit and then move on? Yes.

There are people that internalize other people's pain. They think about it. They think about what it would feel like if they went through it. They think about what the person or people suffering this pain must feel like.

They pray to God. They ask for him to heal the sick. They ask him to help someone going through financial challenges. They pray to God to 'heal' others from their sexual 'deviancy' and from moving away from orthodox observance.

If we want to feign optimism we can say that at best you have a 50-50 chance of being answered. But let's face it. Maybe a 25-75 chance of having your prayer answered. Interestingly enough most of what ends up happening seems to go by the rules of the world. Nature.

A sick person is digressing in his disease. Sometimes a father of young children. Sometimes a child himself. We pray. We pray harder. We have prayer groups. We cry. We beg.

He dies.

We are discouraged. We don't understand. We hold our heads down low. We ask our Rabbi why? Why did he die? Why didn't God listen to our prayers?

We are told that God works in ways that we can't understand. We are just a small piece of this grand picture. God feels our pain. One day after Mashiach comes we will see the whole picture and it will all make sense.

Pray more. Do introspection. Repent.

Our prayers? What happened to them? We hear; every prayer is precious to God. Maybe our prayers gave him a few extra minutes of life. Every minute on this world is worth an eternity. Maybe they suffered less. If it didn't help him, maybe it helped someone on the other side of the world. Maybe it didn't work but it will be a merit for him in the world to come. Maybe it will be a merit for the people who prayed. Maybe for the family. Maybe we didn't pray enough. At the end of days we will understand where each prayer went. Maybe all of the above.

Pray more. Do introspection. Repent.

This all seems forced. After all, what else is there to say? Is it intellectually dishonest? Maybe. Is it based on our tradition? Yes. If you have blind faith, God bless you. I don't. I wonder if maybe we should ask why? Maybe we should get angry? Maybe this should challenge our belief systems? I know that I question God. I get angry at God. I sometimes lose faith my belief system. If the Rabbi's and therapists out there would be intellectually honest, they will tell you the same thing. They question. They challenge. They get angry.

Can I say that all of the above isn't trueand that there is a laundry list of what happens to our prayers? I can't. Can I say that I am tired of hearing this rhetoric over (holocaust) and over (inquisition) and over (Pogroms) and over (Rome, Greece, Persia...) and over and over? I have heard this way too many times. I am tired. I am exhausted. Moshiach will come to take away our pain. We want Moshiach now. I am tired. I am exhausted. Honestly, it gets old. God, how much pain do we need until Moshiach comes? How many times do we have to be thrown out of a country, murdered and slaughtered. How many more children need to be die. We call them a korban. A sacrifice. Please. Has it not been enough. Stop this already.

I am tired of my pain. I am tired of my family and friends pain. I am tired of the worlds pain. I am tired of hearing what seems like the same forced responses over and over.

I am not questioning the existence of God. I am not questioning the coming of Moshiach. I just want answers. I am told that we will get them at some point. If that's the truth than shouldnt we be entitled to understand? It appears that according to the mantra, the answers to pain do not only belong to God. I'm tired and I'm growing impatient. I am very close to being done waiting.

Pray more. Do introspection. Repent.

Have a meaningful fast.

1 comment:

  1. My Friend

    I know a guy that everyone looked up to
    Then something happened, to this wonderful Jew

    The world turned upside down, what could we say
    Our thoughts were with him and his family, hoping they would be ok

    Some time has passed, but there still may be pain
    But if you stay strong, there is so much to gain

    Hashem watches over us, but sometimes we ask why
    There is so much suffering, illness, and young people that die

    Klal Yisrael has gone through enough
    I myself say the nisyonos are too tough

    Though you may sometimes feel as delicate as a feather
    Remember that we all care for each other, in this world bonded together

    Much may have changed, but some things stay the same
    A good heart is associated with your name

    I know a guy that everyone looked up to
    And I am not alone, when I say I still do
    ……You are still, that wonderful Jew