Angry at G-d

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5 Responses

  1. yitz.. says:

    neither the episode with avraham nor the episode with mosheh are clearly cases where they got angry..
    it’s a real stretch to say so.

    I agree with your thesis though, that anger at HaShem is good—it’s the only time someone’s indignation isn’t misplaced — it is cetainly HaShem who is ultimately responsible..

  2. MP says:

    Should AA have gotten angry at H’ when told “kach-na…es Yitzchaq…v’ha’aleihu sham l’olah”?

  3. micha says:

    Yitz: I think the case with Avraham really is. Here are his words: “הַאַף תִּסְפֶּה, צַדִּיק עִם-רָשָׁע? אוּלַי יֵשׁ חֲמִשִּׁים צַדִּיקִם, בְּתוֹךְ הָעִיר; הַאַף תִּסְפֶּה וְלֹא-תִשָּׂא לַמָּקוֹם, לְמַעַן חֲמִשִּׁים הַצַּדִּיקִם אֲשֶׁר בְּקִרְבָּהּ? חָלִלָה לְּךָ מֵעֲשֹׂת כַּדָּבָר הַזֶּה, לְהָמִית צַדִּיק עִם-רָשָׁע, וְהָיָה כַצַּדִּיק, כָּרָשָׁע; חָלִלָה לָּךְ–הֲשֹׁפֵט כָּל-הָאָרֶץ, לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה מִשְׁפָּט.”

    Chalilah Lakh!” twice, no less. Rhetorical questioning. Repetition. I find it very hard to read this as anything but anger. I invite you to offer an alternative translation.

    MP: I think it’s notable that Avraham got angry when the apparent injustice was to yenem, but was able to have bitachon when the pain was his own.

    For most of us, bitachon can’t cover issues like the Holocaust. Either we shelve the problem, perhaps wallpaper that over with bitachon to feel better about simply trying not to think about it. We can’t simply will the bitachon into existence at the moment; such things take from years to a lifetime of work — so how do you respond now? Or, some might dismiss G-d or his role in the matter. I’m applauding a third alternative: Getting angry at Him — but only as one would anyone else one loves. It’s not a denial of that love; it’s a fundamental part of any healthy relationship.

    -mi

  4. what about when you’re so angry that you’re sick of the relationship?

  5. micha says:

    Not a positive thing.

    A healthy marriage should include some fighting, and I was suggesting by parallel that a real relationship with the A-lmighty where the other partner is a human ought to be similar.

    But marriage where one spouse wants divorce generally isn’t considered a healthy one.

    If I may suggest a textbook (and therefore perhaps borderline trite) suggestion:

    This fellow came to (Rav Yisrael, R’ Wolbe, the Meshekh Chokhmah, etc… depending on the teller) and said he wanted to give his wife a get.
    “Why?”
    “I don’t love her.”
    “You don’t love her? Or you don’t feel any love for her?”
    Feeling somewhat confused — “I don’t feel any love for her.”
    “So then love her all the more. Look for opportunities to give more of yourself to her.”

    We often think of actions as expressions of feeling. One of the foundations of mussar, as well as of behavior mod, is that feelings also arise from action. Given that we have all experienced such feedback loops, there should be no surprise there.

    -micha

    PS: I also discuss the idea in Love, part I.

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