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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Please don't call it 'Hashgachat Pratit'

Last week I tried several times to write about the two wonderful people who ran the Beit Chabad in Mumbai.  I wanted to give readers a small sense of the special people whose safety they should have been praying for.  But each time I tried, it came out sounding like a eulogy... and I simply wouldn't allow myself to give up hope.

But Saturday night, when I found out that all of my hopes and prayers had not helped, the words just poured out.  I have attempted to take that sea of words and edit it into something manageable.  But I'm not nearly ready to post it. 

Not yet.  Maybe tomorrow. Maybe.

Right now, all I can do is stare at the little plastic card that slipped out from under my passport when I was putting it away this morning:

Passport_and_room_key

Over Shabbat several people used the words 'Hashgachat Pratit' (sort of a personal protection, presumably provided by G-d) to describe what had allowed me to return home from Mumbai five days before the carnage began. 

Yes, I stayed at the Oberoi Trident... and yes I was privileged to eat dinner with Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg (may their blood be avenged) nearly every night that I spent in Mumbai. 

But I have to be honest... I am having a lot of theological trouble grasping why people would imagine I was somehow worthy of such 'Hashgachat Pratit' while so many others apparently weren't.

Those who were actually there in Mumbai during the attacks and who managed to come out unscathed are likely experiencing what might be best termed 'survivor's guilt'.  My brush with these events was not nearly so close, yet every time someone tells me how 'lucky' I am, or how 'Hashem must have been looking out for' me... I want to hide my head in shame. 

I only knew two of the many people who were murdered in Mumbai... and I didn't even know them that well.  But I did know them well enough to know that they had paid full fare for their place in this world (and the world to come)... and by all rights (and by merit of their deeds) deserved a long life filled with the pleasures and rewards of children and grandchildren. 

I walked around my sleeping home last night feeling like someone who has managed to steal a winning lottery ticket without anyone being the wiser.  Surely if they were undeserving of another night with their beautiful son (and each other), how in the world am I allowed such riches?

So I have a small favor to ask.  If you know me, and you are relieved at my safety after the events in India, please just say so without bringing G-d or luck or 'Hashgachat Pratit' into it.  I am having a theological crisis right now that cannot bear even one more person suggesting that whatever guardian angel was sent to sit on my shoulder was somehow stronger or more worthy than the ones sent to look after those who perished in India.

Posted by David Bogner on November 30, 2008 | Permalink

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Thank you for making us aware of their story. I am so sorry, but you were an eyewitness to their life and work, and I hope this serves as a warning to Jews everywhere to be careful, and hire security guards---do whatever they can to combat these insane criminals. We need you to keep speaking out and in that way, honor their memory, for no one is safe against the cancer that is Islam. Please keep reminding the press how these dear people were targeted. They were no threat. The press and the world must be forced to look and crush criminals.

Posted by: Joyce | Nov 30, 2008 3:03:44 PM

Our dear David,

I would not presume to understand why the angel of death passed you by and not those lovely souls who have been taken from this world. But, what I do know is this: there are those who believe they have the right to decide who lives and who dies and it is their arrogance that is truly offensive. It is their faith that has clearly lost its moral compass, and I'm being generous today in suggesting it ever had one. By all means, feel unsettled and furious; I know I do.

Posted by: Morey | Nov 30, 2008 3:19:14 PM

First of all, condolences to you and everyone else who knew this couple and their guests. Condolences to all of us who never had the opportunity to meet them, too. They sound like they were amazing people.

You hit on the same problem that gets me when people claim to know why God caused a tragedy; in your case, it's why He caused a blessing. In either case, the person spouting off at the mouth presumes to know what God wants, how His plan works, and why such and such happened. People are privy to the barest inkling of what goes on in the world around them, yet they presume to tell you why God does what He does.

I've never held much with hashgacha pratit, anymore than I do with blaming the victims of a hotel disaster that, if they hadn't mixed danced, they would still be alive.

At least the ones who say "hasgacha pratit" mean well. They may simply not know what else to say. Or they may be trying to say that this opportunity, like any other opportunity, is as good a time as any to do teshuva and get closer to God.

You may be interested in the graphic novel Maus, which depicts the child of a Holocaust survivor trying to deal with the simultaneous love and frustration he feels about his father. To give a bit of a spoiler, in the second book his therapist asks him whether he considers his father a hero for surviving the Holocaust. After getting a positive response, the therapist asks: so the ones who died, they were not heroes?

To whit: You can't control everything. God does not control everything; or if He does, it is for reasons beyond our comprehension. Stop holding God responsible for the things that man does. Man is responsible for man's actions. And sometimes they are unfair.

Our reactions to injustice are what matters. Or as my wife puts it, based on the teachings of Levinas, "ontological absence necessitates ethical presence". That's our response to evil.

Yehuda

Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Nov 30, 2008 3:21:19 PM

I AM relieved at your safety after the events in India. I am also heartbroken for the little boy who will grow up without what seemed like a very special couple, and of course for my other fellow Jews and Israelis who were so viciously murdered.

Posted by: Baila | Nov 30, 2008 3:23:22 PM

you can not deprive the r'shaim [ evil ones] of their bchira chofshit [free-will].
sometimes, and you can't know when, [even after the fact, usually] hashgacha plays a special role . usually, the world is, as it is.

Posted by: nachumj | Nov 30, 2008 3:24:21 PM

During WWII my dad's airplane was shot down over Mermansk (by our Russian "allies"). Everyone in the crew made it out safe, except the pilot.

Years later (as Dad was recovering from the first of the strokes that eventually took his life) I sat at his bedside reading his memoirs to him. I'd never heard this story about his brush with death before. In closing the story, Dad had written how he'd cried like a baby at Colonel Allen's memorial service, and how (with the tears still streaming down his cheeks) he'd cursed himself when it dawned on him that he wasn't feeling grief, but fear. I barely choked out the closing words Dad had penned: "It could have been me; if there were any justice, it should have been me."

Then Dad (whom I'd thought was asleep) startled me by slurring, "Sumbitch sure writes perdy."

I had to agree, "Yeah, he sure do."

Trep--
It shouldn't have taken forty years for that "sumbitch" to tell Colonel Allen's story. Maybe there's a reason you've been blessed with the ability to "write so perdy".

Posted by: Bob | Nov 30, 2008 3:50:58 PM

Trep, ever since i heard of the events in Mumbai, your face came into mind. i knew you were home safe, but i couldnt help thinking how close you had been. there are no words that can adequately comfort anyone in this devastating situation. i too am having my issues with G-d over this whole ordeal, all the while trying to explain the impossible to my children.

let me share this with you - there is no rhyme or reason that us simple mortals can understand. a nation, a large family, grieves along with you. you are not alone in your grief or in your crisis of understanding.

We send you our ineffective but loving hugs across the miles.

Posted by: Hadassah | Nov 30, 2008 4:28:34 PM

Try looking at it the other way....they were deserving of all the isorim in Olam Hazeh, and they're going straight to Olam Habah....you might have a hot place in hell waiting for you, and you're not nearly as lucky as you think...

/sarcasm :)

Posted by: Ed | Nov 30, 2008 4:59:23 PM

I have no idea why HaShem gave you the extra stress and loss of learning of the violent deaths of your recent hosts, nor why they died. All we can do is stay safe and keep our kids safe.

There is a long history of Islamic Jihadists and warriors refusing to attack women and children. The recent decades of suicide bombing are something of an innovation.

Like the 9/11 attacks, these death squad attacks have no achievable concrete goals, in contrast to most military battles, for example. But there is tradition in Islam of using pre-battle Terror to weaken targets, so perhaps a more conventional battle will start soon. Somewhere.

Posted by: Fred2 | Nov 30, 2008 5:04:35 PM

Your feelings of grief and unworthiness are perfectly natural responses to having successfully dodged a bullet. They are magnified by the knowledge that others were not so fortunate.

Some will say that HaShem kept you around for a reason. I say, "Who knows?" It's presumptuous of us to think we know the mind of the Almighty.

My Aunt Marge and Uncle Phil were on TWA 800 from Athens to New York. On that aircraft's next leg (from New York to Paris) it exploded, killing all passengers. Were they lucky? Yes. Were they more "deserving" of life than many of the people who died? Who knows? Who decides?

SWMBO's sister was struck by lightning and killed at the age of 16. Her brother survived. Why one and not the other?

I have heard it said (by a Chabad rav) that HaShem calls you over to Olam ha-Ba when your work here is done...or when He needs a soul for His own purposes. Explanations like this can be comforting to some people, but that's precisely why I don't trust 'em...it's our attempt to make ourselves feel better about something that is, at its core, unexplainable.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People is Rabbi Harold Kushner's attempt to explain these things. I haven't read it, but you better believe my mother-in-law did.

Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time...and sometimes not. It is a fact of life. But the tragedy in Mumbai was not a random occurrence of Fate in one respect: It was a calculated act of murder and terror committed by human beings with an evil agenda, driven by a sick religious outlook.

We say "Barukh Dayan Emet" because we like to thing that there was some judgement involved. But that's just conjecture...our way of dealing with the senseless tragedies of life.

May ha-Makom comfort all of us, all of the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem - and Mumbai - as we bind our emotional wounds and get on with the business of Life...and fighting these evil mamzerim wherever they may be found.

Posted by: Elisson | Nov 30, 2008 5:35:56 PM

David,
Whatever Hashem's cheshbon in this matter, we are all very glad, thank G-d, that you are safe.
I am also certain that whatever Hashem's reasons for permitting this horrific chilul Hashem and incomprehensible act to occur, there is no doubt that the neshomas of the Holtzbergs, h'y'd, are now in what must be mamash the highest places in Gan Eden, in the company of their holy Avos, like Avraham, in whose footsteps they truly walked.
To have reached out to so many people passing through India- where so many Jews go searching, and furthermore what is perhaps the biggest center of Avodah Zara in the world, is incredible. The massive kindness they performed, with so many, is itself awe-inspiring. That they were killed Al Kiddush Hashem, in the fullest sense of what that means, means that they are in the company of Rabbi Akiva and tzadikim from so many generations of our history.
It explains in the sefer Derech Hashem that at times when great evil hangs over the world and "gezeiros" stand poised to come and afflict the masses (G-d forbid), sometimes certain special tzadikim take suffering on themeselves in order to spare others. This is alluded to in Shir haShirim, where it describes Hashem "descending to His garden, to collect roses". The Holtzbergs were the most beautiful of roses in the garden of neshamos.
We are certainly unable to comprehend how such heinous evil can continue to exist in our world, and furthermore how it can dare touch even tzadikim like them. Our faith is only that from the perspective of the world to come, the world of truth, we will be able to understand how whatever Hashem did and allowed to happen was ultimately for good. But to understand this here is impossible for us. We only know that the nature of this entire world is ONLY to function as a "pruzdor", an antechamber, to the world to come, as it says in Pirkei Avos. The true meaning of everything in the world can only be ascertained in light of that understanding.
Thank G-d you are safe David, and may Hashem comfort you for the trauma that you are certainly feeling as well from this event, and certainly all of the countless people and families who were connected with all of the victims, Jewish and Indian. May we all merit together to see in our days the removal of evil from the world, when Hashem will wipe the tears from all faces, and evil will evaporate like smoke. Until then, may the memory of holy tzadikim like the Holtzbergs be a blessing and an inspiration to the rest of us, to maintain and continue to share the light that they revealed in our darkened world. May we all be comforted in our pain.

Posted by: Yosef | Nov 30, 2008 6:37:39 PM

I am the brother of SWMBO who was twelve feet in front of our sister when she was killed by the lightening strike back in 1975.
I, to this day get angry for her death.
But through Torah I have learned to deal with it.
Dealing with it is not the same as accepting it.
But HaShem's ways are not ours.
It is all a puzzle and all the pieces fit.
In this physical world we are not able to see the whole picture.
If we could everything would make sense.

Posted by: Bro in-law d'elisson | Nov 30, 2008 7:03:08 PM

I just want you to know Chana and I were thinking of you in our house this shabbat.
Your struggle that you presently face is one I ponder often. I feel that it is is one all twentieth century Jews must ponder in the shadow of the Shoah. I remember a friend saying to me after 9/11, "essentially this event was like a slow day at Auschwitz." I kind of relate to that.
For me, there are no easy answers. I like to think of the scene at the end of Saving Private Ryan, where the Tom Hanks character is laying mortally wounded and tells Matt Damon's character that now he has to live for them, and to do his best to lead a good life.
That's really the best we can do.
Hope to speak to you soon over a less serious post; hopefully, one where one of your children did something sweet, silly, and noteworthy.
Larry

Posted by: Larry | Nov 30, 2008 7:31:13 PM

*hugs*

I know of nothing else to say or do, except that.

Posted by: Lachlan | Nov 30, 2008 7:44:12 PM

I don't know that there are any good explanations for this kind of thing. In addition to yourself I know of two others that had interaction with Chabad in Mumbai. Two of my young cousins stayed there for a week. They left around 8 days before this all took place. I know that they were shook up too.

I know four people that died from brain tumors, the oldest was 34. One of them was more like a brother than a friend to me. He died a month after his 29th birthday.

If you asked him how he felt about his situation he'd tell you that "sh*t happens." That kind of sums it up for me. I can't explain these things and I have a hard time settling for it was G-d's will. So I go for the default answer that my buddy provided. It may not be eloquent or profound, but the simplicity works for me.

So I am happy that you're here, for whatever reason, in the end it is a good thing.

Posted by: Jack | Nov 30, 2008 8:54:23 PM

Dear Rabbi Freeman,

I can't handle this. Here's a young couple with a small child who left their families to live in a strange land, just for the sake of helping build the Jewish community there. You know how many kids they saved from drugs and from prison? This is their reward? This is the protection G‑d gives them?

--S

Dear S,

We're all in pain. We're all stunned. But you are asking questions you know you cannot answer. Why? How will that help anyone? What we need now is strength and courage. What we need now is to regather our forces and to rebuild.

We knew beforehand that we are at war with an enemy. We knew that the world needs to be healed, that it oozes with a venomous darkness, and that darkness will not sit passively as we steal away its dominion. We knew that the more we fight this darkness, the harder it will fight back. We didn't fool ourselves. We decided we will fight and we will win. That is why Gavriel and Rivky went where they went. They went not as tourists, but as fearless soldiers.

Once you are at war, you don't stop to ponder all over again—can we win? Is this worth it? Maybe they're worse than we thought? That's deadly. If you would rather stay home and enjoy comfort while the rest of the world sits out in the cold, you should have decided that a long time ago. Now you are out there on the field of battle, you have already awakened the bear from its den, now there is no turning back.

They are darkness. We are light. They storm the shores with death in their eyes. We come to teach compassion and acts of beauty. They carry assault rifles and grenades. We carry candles for Friday night, a Torah of wisdom, joy and beauty.

Are we to surrender before them? Are we to stop and cry and ask, "maybe we're fighting the wrong battle"?

We will fill the world with light and wisdom and the spirit of darkness in men's hearts shall forever perish. They come with their guns and their might, with a god of destruction and terror, but we come in the name of the Eternal, the source of all life and healing. They and all memory of them will vanish from the face of the earth and our lamp will burn forever.

May the Almighty G‑d hear the cry of their blood from the earth and put an end to all sorrow. May it be very soon, sooner than we can imagine.

Posted by: mal | Nov 30, 2008 9:24:22 PM

I also do not presume to understand how God decides who will live and who will die. All I know is that it is His decision, it is out of our hands, and that I am so glad that you returned home safely.

Posted by: Raizy | Dec 1, 2008 12:58:58 AM

May G-d avenge their blood and comfort all the mourners.

Posted by: triLcat | Dec 1, 2008 1:52:18 AM

I am a Catholic and all I can do is offer a Catholic prayer for the two lovely people I have read about and seen in photos.

May the angels lead them into Paradise,
At their coming may the martyrs receive them
And lead them through into the Holy City, Jerusalem.
May the chorus of angels lead them
And with Lazarus, once a pauper,
May they have Eternal Rest.

Posted by: Jeff | Dec 1, 2008 6:11:02 AM

i have tried to comment many times since i heard the news from india, but everything i wrote seemed so trivial. but. i am glad that you are home. and i am so heartbroken that others are not.

Posted by: Debbie | Dec 1, 2008 6:48:39 AM

I don't believe in guardian angels, nor do I believe that everything happens for a "reason" -- or any other of that feel-good gobbledy-gook. I believe most of what happens in life is random chance.

My heart is broken over the events in Mumbai -- the targeted and cold-blooded murders of our people as well as all of the innocent victims in this senseless tragedy.

I just wanted to say I am glad you are ok. I can imagine how shaken up you must be, having only days before been in the very location of these terrible events.

May the day dawn soon upon us where people stop dying in the name of religion at the hands of fanatical extremists.

Posted by: Stacey | Dec 1, 2008 6:59:14 AM

The Hotlzbergs would have called it Hashgacha Pratit, since we follow the Baal Shem Tov who taught EVERYTHING is Hashgacha Pratit.

Posted by: Lubavitcher | Dec 1, 2008 8:04:57 AM

Very interesting comments.
Apart from drooling at your passport David, My prayers are with the families of the Jewish and Israeli hostages who lost their lives in Mumbai last week.

Posted by: Rami | Dec 1, 2008 8:23:23 AM

Very interesting comments.
Apart from drooling at your passport David, My prayers are with the families of the Jewish and Israeli hostages who lost their lives in Mumbai last week.

Posted by: Rami | Dec 1, 2008 8:25:30 AM

Reporters Krishnakumar P and Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai are reporting a doctor :"Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again," he said.

http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/nov/30mumterror-doctors-shocked-at-hostagess-torture.htm

Posted by: Akiva | Dec 1, 2008 8:41:02 AM

[ ]. That's all.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Dec 1, 2008 9:25:05 AM

David,

I am grateful that you are safe and home with your family.

-Christopher

Posted by: christopher | Dec 1, 2008 10:56:13 AM

The livaya for Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg will be tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10 PM, leaving from Kfar Chabad to Har HaZeitim in Jerusalem.

Posted by: Jameel @ The Muqata | Dec 1, 2008 12:15:25 PM

David, I am glad that you returned safely, and I grieve for all those who did not.

I also hope that now the world will wake up to the threat we face now that we have all seen, yet again, the terrible price of not doing so.

Posted by: Rahel | Dec 1, 2008 12:27:31 PM

I will add my voice to those who mourn over the horrible tragedy in Mumbai, and in gratitude that you are home and safe.

This is such a hard thing to write about, and to think about. There is no way of knowing why certain people are marked for death and others survive. Due to our limitations as human beings, we will never understand the entirety of G-d's plan. We simply have to trust that He knows what He's doing, and to accept it. I realize that that is very cold comfort, but in the long run, it's all we have.

Perhaps you can think of it this way. By being in Mumbai when you were, you had the zchus to get to know these two amazing people just before they were killed al kiddush Hashem. And I'm sure that what you eventually write about them will allow many others to get to know them as well, and to mourn them properly. Maybe that's why you were there in the first place.

May G-d avenge their murders and bring comfort to Klal Yisroel.

Posted by: psachya | Dec 1, 2008 4:15:56 PM

I am very thankful that you are safe at home and I look forward to seeing you and your family -- healthy, happy, and appropriately celebratory -- during Chanukah.

David, I feel very confident in declaring that you mean more to hundreds of us (who check in every day) than you know. I wish you an easy journey through the difficult theological / psychological / philosophical landscape immediately ahead.

Drew

Posted by: Drew | Dec 1, 2008 6:23:55 PM

Nobody can accept what happened without a spirtual crisis and anguish; but I'd like to offer my thoughts. I've been thinking about this for a while; although my mother never spoke about the family she lost in Lithuania, some years ago I learned that her parents and sisters were herded into the local shul, where my grandfather was the Rabbi, and burned alive. I also have heard intimations that in my aunts' case, this was merely the end of other horrible indignities.

The Father of our nation was resigned to losing the son that gave spiritual and emotional meaning to his life. Yaakov said that his own life was one of unremitting misery and affliction. A Jew should know that we are born into a world of suffering, where tranquility should be seen as an ephemeral gift, an anomaly. Life is Sysiphian, and the only honest way to deal with it is knowing that reason and the ethical sense did not evolve for nothing, and that ultimately, we will understand why it has to be this way.

Posted by: Barzilai | Dec 1, 2008 7:13:33 PM

I am grateful you are home. I am heartsick at the senseless killing which we will no doubt see again until the world wakes up.

Posted by: Marsha in Englewood | Dec 1, 2008 10:48:08 PM

Dave-

I echo the range of emotions of all the posters, but as to your crisis of faith, I would say that you are mistaken when you assume that you "merited" or were "worthy" to be spared. It IS possible - you are a good guy and we all think you're deserving, even if you don't.

But God's choices cannot be fathomed - even Moses couldn't understand these things - and we have to realize that everything we have is complete chesed - in effect, a random act of kindness.

People always say, "v'nizkeh..." - "May we merit this or be worthy of that..." but, as the Tosher Rebbe of Montreal once said, "If we wait for things to come in our merit, or until we are worthy, we would not have anything." We pray to God for chesed and that's it. Why He grants what appears to be kindness to one and deprives another of what we think they should have...out of our league.

Posted by: Dov in NY | Dec 2, 2008 3:12:39 AM

Don't have much to add to the excellent comments above... I'm just glad you're home safe. Mumbai was yet another reminder that our lives are not as secure as we would like to think. I'm very sorry for what happened and I hope you get lots of rest and healing time with your friends and family.

Posted by: Chantal | Dec 2, 2008 4:07:10 AM

Oh God, Trep.

Anyone who claims to perceive a pattern or a plan in who lives and who dies is either filtering the data, or much more holy than I am. And because I'm a Litvak, I tend to assume the former, rather than the latter.

I'm so glad you are safe. And so angry and grieved over those who are not. And I do not know why it should be so.

Much love from out here in the utmost west.

Posted by: balabusta in bluejeans | Dec 2, 2008 6:21:32 AM

Update: The funeral in Kfar Chabad is scheduled for 1:00 PM.

Posted by: Jameel @ The Muqata | Dec 2, 2008 11:57:34 AM

You can be personally grateful to HaShem for your survival without knowing the reasons why.

Posted by: Bob Miller | Dec 2, 2008 7:43:33 PM

There is nothing at all that can be said other than recognizing the fact that we do not know how the world works (and many people say that we don't know how G-d works - to me, both are essentially the same statement).

All I can say in addition is that I hope and pray that the poor little newly orphaned boy gets his parents back as soon as possible when Mashiach comes and we experience techiyat hametim. Hopefully still this afternoon or this evening.

Mark

Posted by: Mark | Dec 2, 2008 9:24:50 PM

I'd have to agree with Lubavitch above. It is Hasgacha Pratit, but in the sense that everything is Hasgacha Pratit. G-d doesn't stop directing even when bad happens. Why other and not you - I have no idea, and I don't know that terms like "deserve" or "don't deserve" fit because I don't think we have a big enough picture to see what the overall impact is on the world.

If I were to tell you it is Hasgacha Pratit it wouldn't mean well you won the lucky ticket. Rather it would mean that even in this shocking and painful event it was divinely directed and there is meaning behind it. What one does with that is the hard part. I know that even when I know that "this was a lesson", knowing what the lesson is is hard.

I am glad to continue reading your words, and I am glad you are safe. I am saddened by those who have lost theirs. In any case I will keep reading and see the repercussions of this hasgacha pratit and millions of others that happen each day as you continue to write your thoughtful and inspiring blog.

Posted by: Goldie Katsu | Dec 3, 2008 8:44:40 PM

Dont you say it wasnt Hashgacha Pratis it was total Hashgacha Pratis.
You just werent chosen to be part of these Kedoshim.
Not that you arent Kadosh.

There was Hashgacha Pratis that these people should be the Kedoshim Lshaim Kol Yisrael. Not you.

You and the rest of Us are Chosen to now Live Al Kiddush Hashem.

May we all be zoche to the Geulah Shleimah Bkarov Amen!!!

Posted by: yaakov | Dec 3, 2008 9:38:04 PM

I am so glad you are safely returned home. So sorry for the unbelievable carnage and death wreaked in Mumbai. God bless you and yours.

Posted by: Susan | Dec 4, 2008 9:24:29 AM

I know what you mean---I have gotten the same sorts of lines. I also find them supremely irritating.

Here is how I look at it.

1) Everything that happens is for the good.
2) That means "good in the long run/end" and "good for the whole world" and not necessarily "good for me (or those I care about) personally".
3) As for the "why me" or "why not me"....only G-d knows. He has a plan. It is complex. Things are going to happen that we will only understand later, or that we may never completely understand.
4) The plan is bigger than I am.

Or, to be a bit more flippant--you want to make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs. Sometimes, you are the unlucky egg. Sometimes, you are the lucky egg that stays in the fridge. But if there are no cracked eggs, there is no omelet.


Posted by: Gila | Dec 5, 2008 11:26:11 PM

Hi David,

First of all, good to hear you're ok. I know I haven't commented here for a long time, and I haven't read any blogs for quite a while, nor written on mine, but I came here the other day to see how you were doing, and I read this story... And sorry if this will sound a bit... simple... but I am so amazed and shocked by this story... by you staying at the Trident, by how you met Gavriel and Rivka, just a few days before the tragedy... it's just so... unbelievable. I have no words. I understand you're having a theological crisis, and it's very difficult not to mention luck and G-d... but there is probably a reason why you are still here, and it's not because you deserved to live more than another Jew. Maybe one day the reason will be clear, maybe not. We don't know what our mission is. The only conclusion to be drawn is that life is very precious, and we have to always remember that. Sounds simplistic, but that's all it is about.

MWW

Posted by: MissWorldwide | Dec 8, 2008 5:37:47 PM

Hi David,

I've never met you personally, but nonetheless I'm glad to know that you came through everything physically OK. I won't pretend to know why G-d allows or doesn't allow, or does and then doesn't. All I'll say is that I'll keep you in my prayers, and may Hamaqom comfort you and all the survivors, Indian and Jewish, among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and may we soon see the day when all this craziness is no more.

Posted by: Amanda | Dec 9, 2008 12:52:30 PM

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