Category: Theodicy


Parashas Tzav and the Book of Mrs. Job

Vayiqra is about the qorban as performed by the person bringing it. Tzav is the qorban as performed by the kohein. These are two totally different things. Each of us live in our own world.

We have a book of Iyov, which tells the story of the tragedies Iyov lived through. But Iyov’s wife? There is no book explaining her tragedy. Nor that of his children. Those would have been very different books with very different stories. Every person impacted by an event is a protagonist in and of themselves, and Hashem insures that their experiences and duties make sense for them within their own perspective.


Universal Hashgachah Peratis (notes)

Back in 2002, Rav Yitzchok Zirkind zt”l (COLlive obituary) brought the last Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Igeres (Igeres haQodesh 1:93) to the attention of the gang at Avodah. I was motivated to summarize it on list,...

Why Parashas Balaq? 0

Why Parashas Balaq?

The first is comprised of his final speeches preparing us for “real life” after the Exodus, a world where things can go wrong. The second, included in our parashah, is about how Hashem is...

How To Religiously Respond to the Pandemic 0

How To Religiously Respond to the Pandemic

So many others wrote about THE correct way to respond to the CoVID-19 pandemic, how could someone like myself — Micha Shmuel — named for not one but TWO nevi’im not join the fray...

Coping with the Death of an Infant 0

Coping with the Death of an Infant

(This post began life as a comment on an article on Torah Musings, ” When a Baby Dies” by Rabbi Gil Student.) What I held on to through the experience had at least two...

No Answers 0

No Answers

Why do bad things happen? אמר אביי לא חרבה ירושלים אלא בשביל שחללו בה את השבת… אמר ר’ אבהו לא חרבה ירושלים אלא בשביל שביטלו ק”ש שחרית וערבית… אמר רב המנונא לא חרבה ירושלים...

A Physics Metaphor for Coming to Terms with Theodicy 0

A Physics Metaphor for Coming to Terms with Theodicy

As I’ve mentioned in the past, Aristotle believed that motion was caused by an intellect imparting impetus to an object, which then moved until the impetus ran out. Newton replaced this model of physics...

He Should Inspect His Deeds 0

He Should Inspect His Deeds

אמר רבא ואיתימא רב חסדא: אם רואה אדם שיסורין באין עליו, יפשפש במעשיו. שנא’ (איכה ג): נַחְפְּשָׂה דְרָכֵינוּ וְנַחְקֹרָה, וְנָשׁוּבָה עַד ה’. פשפש ולא מצא, יתלה בבטול תורה. שנאמר (תהילים צד): אשְׁרֵי הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר...

Explaining Tragedy 0

Explaining Tragedy

It seems to me, the overall question of theodicy and explaining why tragedy enters the lives of anyone but the most evil, can be addressed on two levels. Philosophically, the question is unanswerable. As...

Backgammon 0


The following is probably fiction, but is certainly possible. Picture a salt truck in February 2008, running down a Manhattan street, its mechanism scattering salt behind it. One particular piece of salt is sprayed...