Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz:”What is One to do with the suffering that is inflicted? “

Man needs to see suffering as something given to him for his own benefit, whether as instruction or as a bitter medicine.

If it is so hidden that one fails to see it, something very serious and complicated happens to one’s relationship with God–a kind of destructive bitterness.

On the other hand, the person who is ready to receive the Divine chastisement is the one who is closest to God, even though He is hidden.

In chastisement, God is closer than in correct or formal relations.

As is true in ordinary human associations, rebuke is a part of genuine cherishing.

Moreover, the person who is prepared to accept chastisement is not simply passive and obedient.

The problem is far deeper than that.

If a person is sick, he should not merely take medicine and lie in bed in order to be able to enjoy the chastisement of suffering, nor does the poor man have to resign himself to poverty.

The problem is: What is One to do with the suffering that is inflicted?

Is it in the nature of a calamity or a revelation?

The only answer lies in the certainty that no matter what the nature of the situation, one is always interrelating with God.

If there is suffering, He is contending with me, bringing me to some new appraisal of things.

He may be right or He may be wrong, in my opinion; but at least I can argue the matter with Him.

That is what God wants – a living relationship.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz