It's Not Fair!

What message do we give our children when we say, "Life isn't fair"?

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Comments (26)

(25) Judith, August 1, 2019 12:46 AM


Sorry Lori but I disagree with you. I think we should be honest with our children. Obviously, you had never experience poverty in material things. You grew up, live and travel in the first industrialized world (Canada, USA, Israel). Life is not fair because some children in poor countries don't even have meals then they cannot say, this poverty is for a highest purpose. This doesn't imply that Hashem made a mistake, it means that there are all kind of people and situations in the world. The ones who have more need to give more because they were blessed with material prosperity since birth. Maybe God made some of us with more resources to help the ones with less resources otherwise how can we learn to share, to give and receive.

(24) Jonathan, February 27, 2012 3:18 AM

Have we forgotten already?

The holocaust is the elephant in the room. If you don't address it, what meaning do your comments have?

(23) Sandy from Dallas TX, February 26, 2012 6:08 PM

Hashem knows what's in our best interest

Dear Lori, Thank you for this wonderful video that puts things into their proper perspective. I will butress your message with the following story: About 12 years ago lady named Chana could not find a job in her field in Dallas Texas, the city that she loved. Instead she was offered a job in Harrisburg Pennsylvania working for the state. When she consulted with the Rabbi of the shul in Dallas that she help found, he advised her to take the job. Although Harrisburg had a good frum infastructure including a mikvah and an eruv, it did not hold a candle to Dallas. Little did anyone know that up in Harrisburg Chana would meet her beshert, Sandy, on JDate who was then living in Baltimore. One year after their first date they got married and Sandy was able to transfer and relocate to Harrisburg. For the first 6 1/2 years Sandy & Chana lived in Pennsylvania's capital city until the state suddenly abolished Chana's job. She got an offer in Oklahoma City with the state of Oklahoma but on the third day of her employment there they pulled the rug from out under her. Several months laterChana was offerd a very good job in Dallas and 8 months ago she& Sandy moved there. The long and the short is that Hashem brought Chana to Harrisburg for the purpose of getting her married to her real beshert and terminated her job with the state of Pennsylvania to return her back to Dallas, this time with a husband.. Some parts of this story still remain a mystery. Why didn't Hashem bring the two of them to Dallas to meet and marry in the first place? The answer is that we don't know but Hashem knows what's best for us, even of WE don't know. Thank you again, Lori, for your informative and inspiring video. Keep up the good work!

(22) Anonymous, February 23, 2012 4:58 AM

Thank you

When you brought out this message you said "I believe...." Thank you for not putting down your foot and saying this is how it should be done yet this is what you believe. I think ppl. are more accepting this way

(21) Rachel, February 22, 2012 10:07 PM

There is a difference between human actions and Hashem's

I don't say "life is not fair" and when my children were small, I would try to discuss the difference between what Lori called injustices vs. the way life is. I suffered a life-threatening catastrophic illness. That's not about what's "fair". By the same token, when a person's injury is due to the actions of other people, then the injured party has every right to attempt to get a remedy. Telling children "life is not fair" also gives them an easy out for mistreating others or not taking responsibility for their own mistakes, and that's not something my husband and i will put up with. But when a child has been treated unjustly (e.g. collective punishment of a whole class because of the misbehavior of a few), I will certainly use it as an opportunity to discuss the fact that it is unfair and assure my kids that if it happens again, I will intervene with the school. My children are now in their teens and know the difference between "it's not fair that some people are smarter, more attractive, wealthy, etc" vs. real injustices. And they give tzedakah, vote, participate in organizations, etc that work against injustice.

(20) rivka, February 22, 2012 8:24 PM

the 2 last videos

thank you for your videos. they always give a lot of Chizuk. The last 2 ones, that I saw (this one and on the reincarnation) make me feel that you or your family or good freinds have faced quite a difficult time. So I hope ,b"H, that all will be OK as, as you said, every thing commes from H' so there can not be a better thing for us, but it can still be very painful. We have not the ability to anderstand every thing...accepting all different kind of situations is a hard test for emunah and bitachon,a life long work ! all the best...from France

(19) Anonymous, February 22, 2012 5:53 PM


WOW! Thank you for changing my reply to my grandchildren! Awesome!

(18) Robert, February 22, 2012 5:22 PM

Life is not fair but it is appropriate

My children (11 and 13) don't complain about things not being fair to much now. I have taught them for sometime that when my wife or I do something that seems unfair to them, we are actually doing what we think is appropriate. There is not an original Hebrew word for fair in this sense, and I have told my children that repeatedly. Focusing on what is appropriate rather than what is fair changes the view. You may not like the outcome, but I care and I am doing what I think is best because I love you. This same message is what I hope they will see when they think Hashem is being unfair.

(17) Susan Lapin, February 22, 2012 2:17 PM

Don't agree on this one

I usually agree with you, Lori, but not on this one. I don't think fair means just or good. When I told my children "life isn't fair" it was a way of telling them that they and all of us are unique individuals each with our own talents, possessions and situations. Wanting everyone and everything to be the same is going against how God created us.

(16) Suzanne, February 22, 2012 10:32 AM

Not Fair is Not Bad

I do not think life is fair and I am glad. God has been much more gracious to me than I deserve. I would much rather have more than I deserve than get what's fair.

(15) Jose Manuel, February 22, 2012 4:13 AM



(14) Abraham L. Seiman, February 22, 2012 12:45 AM

If life is fair in God's eyes,but not in mine, then I should do something about it. If I do, am I fighting against God or indicating that there is something wrong with his or her plan?

(13) Esther, February 21, 2012 5:34 PM


Lori, you are sooooo right on here. We are all guilty of feeling "it's not fair." Thanks for reminding us where we should channel our complaints and Who we should talk to and how we should embrace the situation.

(12) Landau, February 21, 2012 5:23 PM

we cannot turn every discussion with our children into a long shiur

On face value, the statement 'life is not fair' is objectively true. We cannot turn every conversation, especially with young children, into a full fledged shiur on Derech Hashem of Luzzatto, into a discursus on Olam Hazeh vs. Olam Habah, etc. There are indeed occasions for such, but in general day to day interactions with one's young children, a statement that 'life --i.e. the current reality of Olam Hazeh -- is not fair" is indeed an accurate summary, and a level setting of expectations. The deep theology can and will come at opportune times. It is 'unfair' to state that those who say 'life is unfair' are excluding the Al-mighty. They are choosing to use a simplification that is workable for the moment.

(11) ruth housman, February 21, 2012 4:59 PM

what we say to our children: about FAIR

I would say in life we need fair play, but life is often, so wholly, unmistakeably unfair, and we know this. We all do. We can say, and I also believe this, that we're here to learn humility, awe and reverence for all life, and we're here to succor each other, to care for the other, to learn that empathy is really the only true path, and that meaning is derived from this ongoing struggle to act in ways that are about love, in this deepest sense, of the dignity fo all human beings, to practice humanity. On the other hand, what we do see, of the hand of God, is often such unbearable brutality and such unbearable loss, that happens, seemingly in ways that are totally unfair, and not just. In fact, that's where atheism keeps us honest. I will say this, despite this knowing, that as souls we do circle and come back, and that by some alchemy we are "there" on the other side, as psychics do proclaim and show people, I will say I put God on trial for these atrocities, of the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, because you seem to feel it's all one way, and not the other. Do we or do we not have free will? Some articles say of course God created the miracle, and some others say, this is terrible, this is wrong. So if it's all God, and that seems where discourse is leading those who believe, it all happens for a reason, I say put God on trial, and then let the Promise, that Messianic promise, happen for once and for all. And when we all somehow come back, and forgive God, and shake hands around the world, then we can realize that greater, most cosmic story, but not until then. Now we must act, and act in ways that do promote tikkun, so sure, life IS unfair, and we need to tell our children it IS, but this they can DO, to make it better. There is no way I cannot embrace both sides of this, and have, and I experience not a little but MASSIVE synchronicity. Maybe one day, someone will hear, this still, small voice that is about my life and what I am saying.

(10) Anonymous, February 21, 2012 4:38 PM

thank you for being counter cultural and

asking us to think about this phrase. My OB said it to me "Life isn't fair" when I was trying to push out a dead baby - our only full/post term baby after several miscarriages. Needless to say, I was not exactly in a position to stand up for myself when she said it, after having been in labor for several days and was exhausted. This was in 1999. Since then, I have investigated even more religious belief systems, with Judaism as a bit of a stopover, and still hanging around. But searching out and investigating other belief systems that teach about reincarnation from several different perspectives. This concept of reincarnation is helping me to deal with some of the things that have hurt so badly and just seem so unfair. Thank you again for making me think.

(9) Bernie Rosenberg, February 21, 2012 4:21 PM

sorry, i disagree with your analysis. fairness is not handed to you on a silver platter. unless you are in the trump class. you learn to cope with it. i learned the hard way & i told my kids the same. they grew up quite well, thank you!

(8) kimberly, February 21, 2012 4:15 PM

I just love you Lori <3

You always have the best videos

(7) ruth housman, February 21, 2012 4:03 PM

Yes and No: life contains this intrinsic paradox

I think when it comes to what I am reading right now, which is Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in The Sun, for sure, the argument we can always give is LIfe is Unfair, and for some it seemed beyond unfair, when it came and still comes to prejudice, bigotry, one upmanship of all kinds, and in how somehow those with soul, are the very ones who get hurt, and most frequently. There are a lot of perspectives in which one can say this, and it's not just children. And since we do, since we have these words, maybe God also provided us the language of words, to express what seems sometimes totally unjust. I know someone who is in prison, and people around the world, including Amnesty, declare his innocence, but he's still there. Now maybe, if you were in this position, you might have a view of the world, that says, injustice is part of what is fair, but when this is very personal, I would say it is hard to turn this around, particularly when you, behind bars, are barred from being with those you love. Who do you go to? Do you continue to believe it's all for your good, knowing it's totally wrong, this total deprivation? I am saying, it's so easy to say, turn it around, but it's not always something we can do, though we may try, to find that silver lining, and even in thinking it's all part of God's plan, and that God does rule the universe, even in knowing this, those who are hurt bad, well, they do have a right to question and since they do, I say, that is part of being, and I do agree, we all need to turn this around. That's the task. That is tikkun. But yes, life does seem inherently at times unfair. For a Mother who suddenly loses everything she loves in a fire, and has to come to terms with it's part of a plan, tell that to her, or don't. Because empathy too is part of, the plan. We do question, and we keep not only questioning but this quest continues.

(6) sharona, February 20, 2012 10:38 PM

I think that instead of saying it's not fair, we should tell children, yes things are not always how we want it to be, but we can and should try to make the most of it. I was worried that this purim will not be as enjoyable as I want because of a certain situation. But I decided well if this is how it is, I should just try to make it as special as I can. - I think that our job is to turn darkness into light with our kindness and good deeds. By doing so, we bring blessing to the world.

(5) Eliyahu, February 20, 2012 3:09 PM

Was the holocaust fair?

It is almost impossible for us to understand the holocaust. I recommend a set of lectures by Rabbi Shafier ( He shows clearly that, as painful as it may seem to us, the Holocaust demonstrates the Hand of God as much as any major event of the last century.

(4) Anonymous, February 20, 2012 2:51 PM

life is not fair

always thought that it is a stupid answer , however Lori's explanation does not reason regarding the Holocaust .

Anonymous, February 21, 2012 10:19 PM

understanding G-d

the holocaust happened 70 years ago. how old are you? did you live through it? or is it just an excuse for you to do whatever you please? are you bothered by the fact that the Jews won the 1967 war in only 6 days? that they wiped out the entire Egyptian Jordainian & Syrian airforces decamated their armies. 'No' i'm sure you will say, that was justice! Does it bother you that you sin every day and G-d does not carry out his Justice and punish you? No, you will say, that's G-ds compassion. Do you,- a tiny finite person who has the gall to queston G-d, - deserve his infinate compassion? How can, a tiny spec (a mortal being) on this earth possibly understand the Infinate al-mighty G-d. "K'al emunah vain avel tzadik v'yashar hu." there is no injustice,( it is only one who lacks faith that sees injustice). G-d is perfect ,his ways are just. We may not always understand it but believe me Nothing happened by mistake, G-d orchestrates everything, - even the holocaust..

(3) Anonymous, February 20, 2012 4:30 AM

a very good point-cause for thought

I really like this video because I always find myself saying that and as a kid I hated when people said it to me. It's such an easy copout but it's not really true. Thank you for giving me the correct perspective!

(2) Anonymous, February 19, 2012 4:32 PM

The kids may stop saying that as much...

Years ago there was not as much an emphasis on shmirat halashon. These day I hear very young children as well as adults discussing shmirat halashon and taking greater care with it--due to increased educational emphasis on this area. The same could happen in the area you mentioned if adults do change their responses to the "it's not fair" phrase as per your recommendation.

(1) Rosen, February 19, 2012 2:22 PM

Hashem's fairness

Recently, I thought life is generally unfair to begin with. However, Lori makes a good case and point that it sends the wrong message to tell children that "life is unfair" (maybe children are actually right when they say "it's unfair" where the adults usually come up with the typical, but misleading answer/response that "life is unfair").,,So, with the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's pushed by MLK, Jr. and signed by pres. LBJ, that would likely be one of the first steps in the right direction to ensure fairness, which Hashem provides to begin with, but is all too often repressed by certain humans who are tyranical and have mediocre minds of either/or...However, if only I, myself, could get more of a FT job/career, even though the employers may be interviewing me with all fairness among the other candidates - until then, I am currently working 2 PT jobs that I'm generally satisfied with. Furthermore, I thank Hashem for providing me with the resources to maintain an adequate lifestyle, particularly with my family.


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