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We got so caught up on Theodicy that I believe we lost track of things, so I’m soon going to offer the whole petach again while incorporating Theodicy in a shorter form.

The Zohar explains that the righteous sometimes die before their time (and suffer seemingly unfairly that way) because they’re negatively affected by the sins and sinners of their generation, or so as to not sin themselves one way or another at a later point. And the wrongful sometimes succeed either because God knows that they’ll eventually repent and become righteous, because they’ll eventually have righteous descendants, or because they’ll do (or will have done) a momentous mitzvah that deserved so great a reward (Zohar 2, p. 10b).

And Ari explains it in terms of one’s actions in this life as opposed to those in past ones. If one is indeed righteous here and now and yet suffers it’s because he hadn’t yet rectified the sins he’d committed in his past lives (Sha’ar HaGilgulim 36).

 

(c) 2014 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

(We’d ordinarily offer citations from the Zohar and Ari about the subject at this point, put since we’re still researching that, we’ll now cite Ramchal’s own remarks about Theodicy in other works as well as in Klach.)

Ramchal agrees that the righteous suffer for the few sins they’d have committed and that they’ll be rewarded in the Afterlife, he nonetheless doesn’t take the suffering as instances of Divine retribution but rather as “remedies” for the harm they’d done to themselves (Derech Hashem 2:2:5). In fact, Ramchal very often avoids the whole notion of wrath or retribution, but that’s a subject unto itself.

He also offers that the righteous sometimes suffer for the sake of others of their generation and so as to bring about the ultimate Tikkun in the future, for which they are to be rewarded in the Afterlife (Ibid. 2:3:8, also see Da’at Tevunot 166 for reference to the seeming unfairness that will be proven not to be so after the great Tikkun).

 

(c) 2014 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

Theodicy (9)

Rambam, who addressed the issue in light of the righteous Job’s suffering, asserts that we’re never to forget that God’s ways are essentially unfathomable, but he adds that not only will the wrongful who did well in this world suffer in the afterlife, but their descendants will suffer as well (though it’s not clear whether those descendants will suffer in this life or the afterlife). And he agrees that the righteous person’s few sins would cause his suffering (Moreh Nevuchim 3:23). But he maintains that whatever bad happens to the righteous only happens to them when they’re not dwelling on God’s presence, for no harm could come to them when they do (Moreh Nevuchim 3:51).

 

(c) 2014 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

Theodicy (8)

For all intents and purposes, R’ Yehudah HaLevi pooh-poohed the issue and offered that one should learn to accept the bad (i.e., the fact that he’s suffering despite his righteousness while someone who’s quite wrongful is doing well) — though he does indeed tell him to rest assured that his reward will come in the afterlife — and to chalk such unfairness and travail up to the extent of the Exile and the dispersion of our people (Kuzari 3:11).

(c) 2014 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

Theodicy (7)

Ramban wrote a lot about Theodicy. He agrees that the whole issue comes under the rubric of God’s own plans and agenda, but he likewise offers that the wrongful are rewarded in life for their few good deeds and the righteous are punished for their few sins and that both will get their just rewards and punishments in the Afterlife (Drasha al Divrei Kohelet and Hakdamah to Peirush l’Sefer Iyov). Elsewhere he ties one’s realities in life to his actions in a previous incarnation, and he cites Rambam’s opinion in Moreh Nevuchim to the affect that we really don’t realize how fortunate we are in life, despite tribulations and calamities in the face of our righteousness, and the fact that most of our troubles are brought to us by human beings (Torat HaAdam).

 

(c) 2014 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

Theodicy (6)

Bachya Ibn Pakudah says in Chovot HaLevovot (4:3) that there indeed often seems to be no justice in the world along these lines. but he adds that the issue is rooted in God’s ‘secret things” and plans (which compares with Ramchal’s perspective, as we’ll see). He agrees, though, with Sa’adia Gaon that sometimes the righteous suffer in return for the small number of wrongful things they’ve done or for them to serve as exemplars of faith, and like the Sifre he too underscores the idea that they’ll be rewarded in the Afterlife.  But he makes the point that sometimes the righteous suffer because they weren’t zealous enough to ask God to judge the wrongful of their own generation.

He then says that the wrongful often do well as a reward for the few good things they did in the world, because they will have righteous descendants or had had righteous ancestors, or so that they could repent and become righteous after all. And he offers the original insights that what appears to be good fortune for the wrongful may actually prove to be harmful for them down the line,  and that their succeeding would test others to see if those others would fall into the trap of trusting in undue reward.

(c) 2014 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org

———————————————————-

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.

You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.

Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on http://www.torah.org entitled “Spiritual Excellence” and “Ramchal”.

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