Thursday, June 29, 2006

O' God, can I not save one from the pitiless wave?

So they killed him.

Eliyahu Asheri is dead.

He's my age. He's one year older than me. He had done nothing to them except exist. But they kidnapped him and they killed him. And now he is dead, at 18, he is dead.

So tell me, God, where is your justice? Where is your mercy? What are you doing? Allow me to divine your thoughts. Show me your face, that is what was once demanded. Shall we demand it again? And to what end?

They are despicable creatures, but they are men, so where is their humanity? How can they deny the pleading mothers, the fathers, and don't their hearts bleed, as ours do? What are they, these men? Are they made of stone?

Of course we blame them, cruel murderers that they are, but how do you allow it? How do you allow them to kill your people?

"Judaism, in contradistinction to mystical quietism, which recommended toleration of pain, wants man to cry out aloud against any kind of pain, to react indignantly to all kinds of injustice or unfairness. For Judaism held that the individual who displays indifference to pain and suffering, who meekly reconciles himself to the ugly, disproportionate and unjust in life, is not capable of appreciating beauty and goodness. Whoever permits his legitimate needs to go unsatisfied will never be sympathetic to the crying needs of others. A human morality based on love and friendship, on sharing in the travail of others, cannot be practiced if the person's own need-awareness is dull and he does not know what suffering is. Hence Judaism rejected models of existence which deny human need, such as the angelic or the monastic. For Judaism, need-awareness constitutes part of the definition of human existence. Need-awareness turns into a passional experience, into a suffering awareness. Dolorem ferre ergo sum- I suffer, therefore I am.- to paraphrase Descartes' cogito ergo sum. While the Cartesian cogito would also apply to an angel or even to the devil, our inference is limited to man: neither angel nor devil know suffering.

Therefore, prayer in Judaism, unlike the prayer of classical mysticism, is bound up with the human needs, wants, drives and urges, which make man suffer. Prayer is the doctrine of human needs. Prayer tells the individual , as well as the community, what his, or its, genuine needs are, what he should, or should not, petition God about........Prayer and tzara are inseperably linked. Who prays? Only the sufferer prays. If man does not find himself in narrow straits, if he is not troubled by anything, if he knows not what tzara is, then he need not pray. Toa happy man, to contented man, the secret of prayer was not revealed. God needs neither thanks nor hymns. He wants to hear the outcry of man, confronted with a ruthless reality. He expects prayer to rise from a suffering world cognizant of its genuine needs. In short, through prayer man finds himself. Prayer enlightens man about his needs. It tells man the story of his hidden hopes and expectations. It teaches him how to behold the vision and how to strive in order to realize this vision, when to be satisfied with what one possesses, when to reach out for more. In a word, man finds his need-awareness, himself, in prayer. Of course, the very instant he finds himself, he becomes a redeemed being."

-Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik

7 comments:

Halfnutcase said...

as always chana, your writing and quoting is exemplary.

Ben Avuyah said...

sad times for us all.

Li`l Miss said...

I just read this book "Yosl Rakover Talks to G-d". It's a vent- although thats a very weak word- to G-d by a Hassidic Jew in the burning Warsaw ghetto has he's about to die. In it he asks the the exact same question, Why is G-d hiding from us? Where is He?
throughout it all though he retains a deep faith in G-d. It's a very powerful book by Zvi Kolitz.

FrumGirl said...

Your writing is passionate. May we daven equally so.

Jessica said...

I just stumbled across your blog, and you've articulated the pain so many Jews are feeling right now extremely well...May no more lives be lost and may we merit peacee in Eretz Yisrael very soon.

chava said...

chana, you ought to write a book...your eleiquence in describing what we are all feeling is incredible....but in your peice where you say that the terrorists are still men....you are worngh...they are human bodies but they are not people...they are machines...programed drones, so brainwashed,they have had all the humanity sucked out of them. they live for death...seath is their joy, death is their purpose, their children, when they grow up, want to die int he process of killing......there is nothing human about that and to call them people is an insult to the human race.

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