30.01 Outline (pps.16-20)

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Suffering is a discipline, warning men against sin.

Suffering keeps man from committing the sin of “hubris.”

Suffering lessens the physical pride and selfish nature of the individual.71

Divine Providence is linked to piety and intellectual attainment, the absence of either leaving man vulnerable to evil.

Nature is morally neutral. Hashgachah (Providence) does not apply to acts of nature.

Group V Freedom of man

Implied in this group, there are Self-willed constraints on God’s intervention to protect man’s freedom.

Man’s freedom must be protected, even at the expense of suffering.

Suffering is an indispensable spur to human aspiration and achievement. (This is similar to the [Christian] Irenaean theodicy and kabbalistic nahama dikissufa, a concept to be discussed below.)

Suffering pushes man over the brink to rise up against oppression, to demand freedom.72

Group VI. Kabbalistic responses

The complex kabbalistic response to evil incorporates the following concepts in combination: tsimtsum; “breaking of the vessels”; “dualities.”73

Group VII. There currently is no answer

There is no answer. However the lack of an answer is held not to be a fatal flaw in the overall theology.74

——————- NOTES ——————-

71 Maharal, as explicated by Rabbi Mayer Schiller in an article in Crown Heights Chronicle, April 1985. p. 1.72 See Gordis, A Faith for Moderns, p. 186.

73 See Encyclopaedia Judaica, S.V. “Kabbalah,” vol. 10, cols. 583-587, for more elaboration.

74 In the Sayings of the Fathers (Avot 4: 19) we find the adage, “It is not in our power to explain either the prosperity of the wicked or the afflictions of the righteous.”
See also Hillel Goldberg, in Tradition 20, no.4 (Winter 1982):30.
See also Schulweis, Evil and the Morality of God, p. ii.


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