Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
Is Questioning G-D Kosher
Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 10:57:37 AM
Number of views: 397

Moshe Rabbenu questions G-D. "Why G-D, have You brought evil on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has brought evil on this people, and You have not rescued Your people at all." (Shemot 5).

G-D responds by promising Moshe, that the redemption will come, and it will overshadow all previous Divine Miracles. But in relating this, the Torah uses a name for G-D which is reserved for moments when He delivers stern judgement. The Midrash picks up on this, suggesting Divine displeasure with Moshe. While G-D is redeeming His people, Moshe's complaints are not appreciated. 

Rabbi S.R Hirsch sees in G-D's rebuke to Moshe a call to faith. He points out that although G-D loved our Forefathers, and made many promises to them, their lives were afflicted by infertility, suffering and famine. G-D could have intervened to solve their problems, but He held back, demanding patience from His beloved people. G-D's plan was to forge us into a nation with free will, to experience suffering, and still have faith in G-D. 

Rav Hirsch's message affirms the Talmudic statement that everything that G-D does is for the good. We must accept our limited role in the Divine Plan to build a moral, and ethical world. Moshe is hurt by the misery of the Jews in Egypt, and we sense the continuation of that suffering through Jewish history to our own times. Moshe's question of why we suffer seems not only legitimate, but also how we feel.

For those tormented by these matters, it is the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who comes to the rescue. He appreciates Moshe's need to question, and empathizes with his frustration. Moshe's brilliance, says the Rebbe, brought him closer than any other human being to understanding G-D.

But even Moshe's intellectual relationship with G-D had its limitations. This made it hard for him to deal with painful situations that he could not understand or explain. According to the Talmud (Brachot 7A), Moshe never understood why good people must suffer. Like many of us who are troubled by this problem, he questions G-D, not to challenge, but to seek answers and draw closer to the Almighty.  

While empathizing with Moshe's frustration and admiring his determination to fathom the will of G-D, the Torah gives G-D the last word. Moshe should not spend his life frustrated by his inability to understand everything about the Divine Will. He must, says the Lubavitcher Rebbe, move on, and accept that not everything can be comprehended. Moshe must draw on his spiritual resources to overcome the intellectual gaps in his relationship with G-D. This is the lesson for us all. 

As the Talmud (Brachot 12) teaches, we have every reason to be optimistic. Because ultimately, G-D will redeem us, with a Final Redemption greater even than the Exodus of Egypt. 

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