Where Was God During the Har Nof Massacre?

It’s okay to ask this question.

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Comments (42)

(30) Mati, December 8, 2014 4:54 AM

I have always said....

.....that "Murphey's Law' is proof that G-d exists. For the odds (chance) of things going wrong 'always' cannot happen. "Murphey's Law" is really HaShem's love in reflection of our Parent teaching us daily.

(29) Anonymous, November 30, 2014 2:05 AM

where was G-d

I don't know what to think or say about this tragedy, or about G-d in all of this.
But from reading and watching what the men's relatives have shared with us, I think that
"were is G-d" was the last thing on mind , of the men who fought and tried to save the others till the end .
That is what I learned from them.

(28) dee, November 28, 2014 1:58 AM

Great

beautifully said. Funny how yetzer hara prays on people to be in despair rather than strengthen resolve to do more, be better. They will rather follow their sad (=evil) path than be inspired by widows of victims.

(27) Neria, November 27, 2014 5:21 PM

Thank you

Dear Rabbi, Thank you for your sobering words. I would also like to add- how about stopping asking why? Let's focus our energy, prayers and spirit on supporting the grieving families; give them our love and presence. Shabbat Shalom

(26) Miriam, November 27, 2014 2:32 PM

Where wasn't G-d during the Har Nof massacre?

In 1948, Morris Weinberg (brother of Rav Noach) was offered to buy what would later be Malchei Yisrael street in Jerusalem for a pittance. He asked around and was told: Don't invest a penny. The second Israel is declared a state the billions of Arabs will wipe it off the map. It won't last a week.
Where isn't G-d every millimeter of every second in the Land of Israel?

(25) Anonymous, November 25, 2014 8:03 PM

My question for the Rabbi is this

My question is this. A lot of people say "We must increase mitzvah observance, increase faith, connection, etc". If as you say, this is beyond our limited human comprehension, and we cannot understand why G-d is doing what he is doing, how can we truly know what the reaction to such evil should be? If I don't have the judge's decision and recommendations in front of me as a lawyer, I would have absolutely zero idea as to what to tell my client. Perhaps I should tell him that he should hand over documents to the other side's counsel, but perhaps that would be overstepping and is not needed at all. And, furthermore we say that everything G-d does is good. G-d is perfect, all-knowing, etc. If that is the case, this, according to your logic, cannot be seen from the human perspective as 'bad'. If something is not 'bad', what is the point of trying to improve ourselves. Only if G-d said explicitly "This is bad, and I'm trying to get you, the Jewish People, to work on yourselves as a result' would we know that is what he truly wants us to do.

dee, November 28, 2014 1:54 AM

Very strange logic my friend. how do we know how to behave, what to do? From Talmud Torah, from our laws, and rabbis. That;s our guidance. It is G-d who chooses when person is born and when he/she dies. Some people die sudenly some slowly, some massacred. Who knows soul of the person? G-d. Even you don't know fully who you are, if you take into consideration previous jurneys of neshama. You cannot know reason why things happen to them, but you KNOW what to do! G-d gave us perfect and CLEAR path to follow in any situation.

(24) Anonymous, November 25, 2014 2:17 PM

Great!

This is great and so so needed. Thank you SO much for posting this, and thank G-d for Torah, Judaism, and those who help spread His word and way, like you! May peace come soon!

(23) Ilbert, November 25, 2014 10:10 AM

Where was God?

"Where was G_d when a horrible event happen?" The same place when miracles happen. G_d is watching all of us when good and evil happens, waiting for us to figure out how to fight evil and support good. "Free will" is a heavy burden. The desire to return to the Garden of Eden is not an option. G_d is there. Go find him..

(22) abey, November 25, 2014 8:56 AM

Is but first to ask, Where were you when the massacre took place at the Tomb of the Patriarchs ?

(21) Les Le Gear, November 25, 2014 1:36 AM

Where?

Same place he was during the holocaust.

(20) joseph, November 24, 2014 6:18 PM

where was god

after the churben of 1939-1945 someone asked reb michoel ber ztl (weissmandel) 'where was g-d?'. since he knew the fellow as a non believer from before he told him 'your question is not an question but an answer(excuse to not believe in ...), so i cannot answer for answer. vehamaskil yovin(and the wise will understand)

(19) Lyone, November 24, 2014 4:28 PM

Why Does God Give Us Free Will?

I think this is the real question whenever we witness human acts of depravity. Why didn't God just make human beings Good, without the option of choosing Evil? On a daily basis, ever since the beginning of our species, humans have perpetrated evil on one another, and with today's media we get to see it all the time, up close. Why did The Almighty make us like this? Capable of such behavior? Why doesn't He stop it already?

The Angels do not have this Free Will, which we are told is a precious gift. They can only obey His will. But we have the option to choose Good--obedience--or Evil--disobedience. Why create a race of beings that are imperfect, that keep making the wrong choice over and over again, only to their own detriment?

It seems to me that Hashem knew that there is something unique to be gained (for both Him and us) through the growth process......something so marvelous and beautiful that it is worth all of the pain and suffering brought on by the Evil choices and actions that humans do to one another and to God's other creations. In the end, humanity--as a whole, and as individuals--will become so elevated and so spiritually beautiful that all of this pain will seem so small.

This is where our faith must come in and help us be strong. So that we can look to the biggest picture, and say, "This, too, is for the Good."

(18) TS Jacobs, November 24, 2014 3:04 PM

Time for people to take responsibility for the world

I respectfully disagree with Rabbi Salomon - we know exactly why this and the many, many previous attacks are happening. G-d told us in parashas Bechukosai. When we don't listen to G-d and just do whatever we want the consequence is a world of total chaos. And that is what we have. G-d loves us and is only trying to wake us. It is insane to live like this. We have no right to question or blame G-d in anyway. We have free will and responsibility to use it correctly. I don't understand why the question of "Where was G-d?" only comes up when there is an atrocity. We should be asking ourselves where is G-d in my day to day, moment to moment consciousness? Do I want G-d intervening and to matter in every aspect of my life? These 4 kedoshim lived with G-d all the time. The descriptions of their lives are incredible. We can learn so much about what it means to live with G-d from them.

yaaakov, November 25, 2014 2:00 AM

thank you

very thoughtful response to the video. the families of these tzadikim are remarkable and admirable in their statements. i loved how you wrote " these men lived with Gd all the time, we can learn so much about what it means to live with Gd from them" it's a struggle dealing with this situation. one can only admire these tzadikim and their families for their devotion

(17) KJ, November 24, 2014 12:35 PM

A good question. An insufficient answer.

Glad that it's not a bad thing to ask the question but the answer wholly inadequate. So if the answer to everything is "We must be better Jews" then why bother to ask the question? Sounds like more blaming of the victims to me. Sorry, I don't think this answer is brilliant. It's incomprehensible. We don't know is a more honest answer.
We are horrified. That is the honest answer.

(16) Andrés Rosendo, November 24, 2014 11:22 AM

Another explanation (of many) based on Torah teachings

When Ovadia Yosef lived there, Har Nof was the most peaceful place in Jerusalem. Anyway, a rabbi in Buenos Aires explained me that those four tzadikim were a "corvan" (sacrifice) to save dozens or hundreds of Jews. They died in "kidush hashem" and now are in a place whose beauty and magnificence is beyond comprehension.

(15) Anonymous, November 24, 2014 6:45 AM

Fearing the next

As a therapist yourself, these widows are very strong but what about the weak who can't fathom this happening and fear more... Yes Emuna is important but pain can really hide this from the weak. The depressed etc... What about those people who feel like they've lost hope in G-d?

Lisa, November 26, 2014 12:57 AM

The widows may not be asking why...but:

They are till crying their eyes out & so incredibly sad that their children don't have their fathers!!

(14) mgoldberg, November 24, 2014 3:20 AM

I think that G-d indeed was there. It was man who was absent.
It was man who chose to disbelieve in the evil that Islam, is capable of doing with fervor with relish and with relentless belief that that evil is holy. I have no idea what G-d thinks but I know man was in denial, was in appeasement mode.
Some will say it is not apronriate to remonstrate Islam, muslims and arabs of the middle east for their barbarity, their evil theologic constructs and historical lies and distortions that call for the continued slaughter of jews. You yourself Rabbi Soloman, felt it inapproriate to name the evil actions of Islam when it was done rather specifically as in the advertisements created by the AFDI, and pamela geller. You said it was inappropriate to state such information and I wrote a reply that it was not only appropriate but long overdue.
And it remains long overdue. The call for slaughtering jews, is now in full force without any of the gossamer pretenses of the so called PA. The armed caliphate is the new thrill of muslims worldwide and we, meaning all others are left puzzled as to how the monstrosity of evil tyranny, enslavement, vicious cruetty to others as demonstrated by Islam could possibly be excused by the world who tell themselves a lie: oh that's not real Islam. I would beg to differ with the question: where was G-d?
The real question was where were men. Men who knew that evil must be opposed, but first must be named, addressed and not coddled with platitudes and excuses, like 'where was G-d?
He is always there. It is we who are absent.

Binah, November 24, 2014 2:36 PM

Great response mgoldberg, to a horrific situation.

I think you are correct mgoldberg.

Lyone, November 24, 2014 4:14 PM

I agree

mgoldberg, I think you have hit the nail on the head.

G-d has given every human free will. Some of us use it for Good, and some of us use it for Evil.

(13) Anonymous, November 24, 2014 2:59 AM

why is it that you understand this so well and everyone else cannot? isn't easier to admit that you might not have an answer than to think you have to answer every question?

how is it that you understand this mass murder so well and the ones in Poland and everyone I know cannot...at least we admit that maybe there is no answer...maybe we aren't sure whether God was there or not...and it might not be so bad to admit that.

(12) Gary Katz, November 23, 2014 10:22 PM

Maybe I'm missing the point

I can't see how inhuman acts prove the existence of G-d, except indirectly, through the argument that the acts prove the existence of the Devil, and the Devil can't exist without G-d.

Dvirah, November 24, 2014 6:16 PM

One Possible Answer

This exactly was the thesis of Dostoyevsky in "The Brothers Kamorov." However, such a concept of the Devil as a free opponent of G-d is Christian, not Jewish. I would say that, yes, it is possible to know a thing from its opposite but the opposite here is not the Devil, rather the ideal of separation, of "we yes, you no" that is such a constant mindset in this world. This is the opposite of the Jewish idea of One who connects and contains all life and creation, enshired in the "Hear O Israel...the Lord is One."

Incidentally (and a slight digression), this is also why people are so upset at the idea of Jews as a "chosen" people: they assume (with the "yes/no" mindset) that if one is chosen, the others are of necessity rejected. Which is not so. After all, if a boss gives a particular assignment to one team member, it does not mean that he doesn't value the others; just that that the person chosen is fitted for that task.

(11) Chavi, November 23, 2014 10:16 PM

Beautifully said!

(10) malka, November 23, 2014 10:11 PM

Rabbi Brody mentions that the time before Moshiach is very challenging, but we need to strengthen our selves and hold on to faith and hope. Every prayer and mitzvah counts. May redemption come soon B"H

(9) Anonymous, November 23, 2014 7:48 PM

Incitement of the "modest"?

Rabbi Salomon, thank you for your effort to help us to stay connected to G-d. I have been deeply disturbed by this despicable, heinous terrorists' acts of violence, and horrible crime. I did question the presence of G-d at that synagogue at that very moment when that deranged crime happened, and have asked Hashem for forgiveness for thinking that way, but more than that, I keep seriously questioning where is the United Nation, where is Abba, where is the United States to help prevent these atrocities and to clearly and directly condemn those acts of terror? All I hear is "the two side" has to agree, "the two side" have to go back to the negotiation table, meaning the Israelis and Palestinians. What makes us think that two states solution is the best solution when in fact Palestinian have maintained that they want to obliterate Israel off the map? Killing the way those cowards did, is their only way to intimidate the Jewish nation. Yes, I did question where was God, but I insist in questioning more where are those so called Human Rights entities, world leaders joining the UN, and EU who are supposed to stand on behalf of the abused just as a matter of being just, and protect their past agreements with Israel in 1940s and 1967. Thank G-d we have not lost our faith in G-d, as a result of all the crimes committed by Palestinians against Jews in what goes from June of this year to the present. The UN must do its fair part to prevent future similar crimes committed by the very people they are supporting and trying to protect... the Palestinians. Why would they support incitement of those cowards and then turn to a blind eye as if nothing had happened? I pray to Hashem for the safety and preservation of Israel and its people. G-d bless you are your family Rabbi Salomon.

(8) Charis, November 23, 2014 7:10 PM

God was there; God is there.

Where was God?
Where was God?
God was bleeding with the innocent; suffering with those who suffered; reaching our a hand to comfort those who were afraid; pouring divine love and courage into all who were there.

Where is God?
God is reaching out to the widows, the orphans, the beloved of those who died. God is God is holding those who are in pain in the palm of His hand; God is clasping them to His heart; God is aching and grieving with those who ache and grieve.

Where humanity's heart is open, there is God.

Sara, November 23, 2014 8:48 PM

Beautiful!

So true! Thanks for the reminder! Yes! G-d is holding those who are in pain!

(7) Moi, November 23, 2014 7:03 PM

Where is your answer?

You haven't answered the question. "How could G-d have allowed such atrocities?" If you say we mustn't question G-d, it still leaves the question unanswered.

Chavi, November 23, 2014 10:31 PM

Beyond our understanding

Of course you may question G-d, but the answer may very well be beyond your ability to comprehend it, and you are not privy to facts and previous events that entered into G-d's decision. We see only one very small piece of the picture, and there is so much more that we don't know about. We don't have to have the answer; we just need to be very sure that there IS a very good answer, whether or not we are privy to it. And we have to trust that everything that G-d does is ultimately in our best interests and wholly good.

Charis, November 24, 2014 5:17 PM

An echo of Job

You are so right - God is beyond the comprehension of any mortal. If any of us claims to know why God does/allows particular things, then we can be sure that we are wrong.

The entire book of Job addresses this question - why do the innocent and the good suffer - and there is no answer that we can make sense of.

As Tzipi (below) says - it is man who commits these atrocities. If humanity truly followed God's laws, and lived by the commandments, we would not need to ask these questions.

Tzipi, November 24, 2014 2:53 PM

Why are we allowing such atrocities?

Who are we to question G-d? I think the question is to us - why are allowing such atrocities? We were given free will and unfortunately many believe that means they can do whatever they want. The result of people doing whatever they want is exactly why the world looks the way it does. The questions are for us not G-d.

(6) bernice greenberg, November 23, 2014 6:32 PM

past/present

Quoting Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: "We only understand the past in the present."
We could not have survived 3,000 years without G-d's help.

(5) Feigele, November 23, 2014 4:53 PM

Indeed!

Where was G-d during the Holocaust? this question always enters my mind when something so awful happens like in the Synagogue

(4) Yosef, November 23, 2014 4:52 PM

we also bear responsibility

We can't ask questions on god when we allow an enemy who says that they will kill to live in Israel.

It is similar to someone who lives in a dangerous building and refuse to fix it. Here too in Israel the Arabs are the dangerous building and Israel and we need to fix the building by removing the Arabs.

Until we do that we cannot justifiably ask ask God why.

Anonymous, November 24, 2014 6:26 PM

Justice

I'll retort with Abraham's words regarding Salem: will you kill the righteous with the wicked? There are many Arabs living in Israel who are good citizens and want to continue to be. Unfortunately, we have no sure way of distinguishing the "righteous" from the "wicked" until the wicked act.

(3) Lisa, November 23, 2014 2:22 PM

Your words are a bit of a nechama.....

Yes....we must believe GD was there & one day we will see the complete picture.
Ye heye tov.....

(2) Anonymous, November 23, 2014 2:17 PM

A better question

A better question is "what are we doing with our G-d given free will?" We know from the Torah that G-d only causes these calamities in order to wake us up. We are living in a world of chaos and disorder out of our own free will - we are choosing this. The question is not for G-d the question is to us - how long are we willing to live like this? When will we finally realize that we must all make fundamental changes in our lives and start living in the way G-d instructed us and promised us will lead only to blessing and peace.

joseph, November 24, 2014 6:25 PM

g-d causes ....no he doesnt..

see shloh hakodosh vol 1 page 62 ois dalet (4) too complicated to bring down here..but a profound shitah on the workings of 'kidshow berich hu' regarding this subject

(1) Yaakov Novograd, November 23, 2014 11:25 AM

Thank you.

Your trademark clarity, and willingness to continuously share the wisdom of the Torah & its scholars, is greatly appreciated.

 

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