What is God’s purpose when allowing suffering?
As humans we find it very difficult to see someone else in the world suffering too much. Organizations are established to ensure animals don’t suffer, and organizations are set up for mutual assistance among us, humans, with generous people providing massive sums for all manner of activities.
This reveals that we, as created beings, express compassion and mercy.
So how can it be that the very entity that created us allows so much suffering in the world? And what is the purpose of suffering, whether in animals or humans, etc?
Why does God allow sin?
As humans we are really disgusted by people who don’t speak the truth, people who lie or sin against us, or against the society they live in and from which they gain benefit.
So how is it possible that the Creator of the Universe, who created us, and who is good (as stated in Psalms ??) “God is beneficent to all” and the book “Mesilat Yesharim” (?) (“The path of the righteous”) that the nature of a beneficent being is to provide benefit, allows people to sin (even if it’s only one of the 7 Noahide Laws), or can anyone sin towards another person?
- Why does God allow tragedy?
- Why does God allow bad things to happen?
- Why does God allow children to suffer?
- Why does God allow death?
Where was God in the Holocaust?
Q: God formed the world and humans, and brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt, and split the Sea into twelve paths for the 12 tribes, and when the Egyptians gave chase, the Sea closed, drowning them. Then God gave the Children of Israel the Torah, and God has compassion towards each and every one. So how is it possible that in WWII, when the Germans took children, and righteous people, and cut off their side locks, and murdered them, how did the Most Merciful One not have mercy on these people, and didn’t say to himself: “There are righteous ones among them.”? Before he erased Sodom and Gomorrah, he did say, “There is not one righteous among them.”
A: In Deuteronomy chapter 28, the weekly portion “Ki Tavo,” known as the portion of the rebuke, the Holocaust is described in finest details; in other words, the Torah has told us in advance what would happen. And why? Let’s read a brief excerpt.
 And it will be if you obey the Lord your God to observe to fulfill all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will place you supreme above all the nations of the earth.  And all these blessings will come upon you and be with you if you obey the Lord your God.  You shall be blessed in the city, and you shall be blessed in the field.  Blessed will be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your soil, the fruit of your livestock, the offspring of your cattle, and the flocks of your sheep.  Blessed will be your basket and your kneading bowl.  You shall be blessed when you come, and you shall be blessed when you depart.  The Lord will cause your enemies who rise up against you, to be beaten before you; they will come out against you in one direction, but they will flee from you in seven directions.  The Lord will order the blessing to be with you in your granaries, and in every one of your endeavors, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you.  The Lord will establish you as His holy people as He swore to you, if you observe the commandments of the Lord, your God, and walk in His ways. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that the name of the Lord is called upon you, and they will fear you.  And the Lord will grant you good surplus in the fruit of your womb, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil, on the land which the Lord swore to your forefathers, to give you.  The Lord will open up for you His good treasury, the heaven, to give your land its rain in its [right] time, and to bless everything you do. And you will lend to many nations, but you will not [need to] borrow.  And the Lord will set you at the head, and not at the tail, and you will be only at the top, and you will not be at the bottom, if you obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I am commanding you this day, to observe to fulfill [them].  And you shall not turn right or left from all of the words I am commanding you this day, to follow other deities to worship them.
So all these blessings are promised if we observe and listen to the voice of the Lord your God, just as he says: for our benefit, he gives us bountiful blessings.
But, God then says:
 And it will be, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to fulfill all His commandments and statutes which I am commanding you this day, that all these curses will come upon you and overwhelm you.  You shall be cursed in the city, and you shall be cursed in the field.  Cursed will be your [food] basket and your kneading bowl.  Cursed will be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your soil, the fruit of your livestock, those born from your cattle and the flock of your sheep.  You shall be cursed when you come, and you shall be cursed when you go.  The Lord will send the curse of shortage, confusion, and turmoil on you, in each of your endeavors which you undertake, until it destroys you and until you quickly vanish, because of your evil deeds in forsaking Me.
So, that’s really enough, right? God says clearly that what we do or don’t do is the problem.
So, continuing, he says:
 The Lord will cause pestilence to cling to you until it has exterminated you from on the land to which you come, to possess it.
Remember, some called Berlin “Like Jerusalem.”
…the land to which you come, to possess it.  T he Lord will strike you with consumption, fever, illnesses with burning fevers, a disease which causes unquenchable thirst, by the sword, by blast, and by yellowing, and they will pursue you until you perish.  And your skies above you will be [like] copper, and the earth below you [like] iron.  The Lord will turn the rain of your land into powder and dust, raining down upon you from the heavens until you are destroyed.  The Lord will cause you to be broken before your enemy: you will come out against them in one direction, but you will flee from them in seven directions. And you will become terrifying to all the kingdoms on earth.
All the horrors, like those we saw in the Holocaust, hadn’t been seen for thousands of years.
 Your corpse will be food for all birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth, and no one will frighten them away.
The nations of the world knew about the Holocaust, and did nothing, they didn’t intervene, until the divine decree was done, and no nation attempted to do what should have been done, only towards the end:
 The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with hemorrhoids, with oozing sores, and with dry lesions, from which you will be unable to be cured.  The Lord will strike you with insanity, blindness, and bewilderment.
In other words, they will become mad from what their eyes will see. People couldn’t believe how the ‘image of God’ had totally disappeared.
 You will grope at midday, as the blind man gropes in the dark, and you will be unsuccessful in your ways. You will be only oppressed and robbed all the days, and no one will save you.  You will betroth a woman, but another man will lie with her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not see its fruits.  Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat from it. Your donkey will be snatched right in front of you, and it will not return to you. Your flock will be given over to your enemies, and you will have no savior.  Your sons and daughters will be given over to another people, and your eyes will see [this] and long for them all day long, but you will be powerless.  A people unknown to you will eat up the fruit of your soil and [the result of] all your toil. You will be only wronged and crushed all the days.  You will go insane from the vision before your eyes that you will behold.  The Lord will strike you on the knees and on the legs with a terrible skin eruption from which you will be unable to be cured; [it will eventually cover you] from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.  The Lord will lead you and your king whom you will have established over you, to a nation unknown to you or your fathers; and there, you will serve other deities [made] of wood and stone.  And you will become an [object of] astonishment, an example, and a topic of discussion, among all the peoples to whom the Lord will lead you.  You will take much seed out to the field, yet you will gather in little, for the locusts will finish it.  You will plant vineyards and work them, but you will neither drink their wine, nor harvest (grapes) because the worms will devour them.  You will have olive trees throughout all your boundaries, but you will not anoint with [their] oil, because your olive trees will drop off.  You will bear sons and daughters, but you will not have them, because they will go into captivity.
And it goes on and on. The Torah goes into the details in depth.
 And all these curses will befall you, pursuing you and overtaking you to destroy you because you did not obey the Lord your God, to observe His commandments and statues which He commanded you.
Some people tried to hide behind the fact that they were born in Germany, but Hitler, may his name and memory be erased forever, said: No, even if you’re 3 or 4 generations back Jewish…. In other words, the curses chase after them, pursue them, catch up with them, each and every one.
… because you did not obey the Lord, your God, to observe His commandments and statutes which He commanded you.  And they will be as a sign and a wonder, upon you and your offspring, forever,
Yad Vashem: a reputation throughout the world:
 because you did not serve the Lord, your God, with happiness and with gladness of heart, when there was an abundance of everything.
Listen closely to this: it not only says you will commit sins considered by the Torah to be severe, but instead of serving God who created you to bring you benefit, “with joy and goodness and an abundance of everything” which he wants to give, if you took advantage of the benefits but didn’t serve Him with joy, and did things you were not commanded, it continues:
 Therefore, you will serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, [when you are] in famine, thirst, destitution, and lacking everything, and he will place an iron yoke upon your neck, until he has destroyed you.  The Lord will bring upon you a nation from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you will not understand,…
The eagle is the symbol of the SS.
 a brazen nation, which will not respect the elderly, nor grant pardon to the young.
And the Torah goes on with even harsher things, eating the flesh of sons and daughters due to extreme hunger, siege, and misery that the enemy will inflict.
And all those horrors end with this:
 And He will bring back upon you all the diseases of Egypt which you dreaded, and they will cling to you.  Also, the Lord will bring upon you every disease and plague which is not written in this Torah scroll, to destroy you.
Now come the results of the war:
 And you will remain few in number, whereas you were once as numerous as the stars of the heavens because you did not obey the Lord, your God.  And it will be, just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do good for you and to increase you, so will the Lord cause to rejoice over you to annihilate you and to destroy you. And you will be uprooted from the land which you enter therein, to possess it.  And the Lord will scatter you among all the nations, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve other deities unknown to you or your forefathers, [deities of] wood and stone.  And among those nations, you will not be calm, nor will your foot find rest. There, the Lord will give you a trembling heart, dashed hopes, and a depressed soul.  And your life will hang in suspense before you. You will be in fear night and day, and you will not believe in your life.  In the morning, you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, you will say, “If only it were morning!” because of the fear in your heart which you will experience and because of the sights that you will behold.  And the Lord will bring you back to Egypt in ships, …
So that’s like the Jewish immigrants trying to enter the Land of Israel during the British Mandate times –
… through the way about which I had said to you, You will never see it again. And there, you will seek to be sold to your enemies for slaves and handmaids, but there will be no buyer.  These are the words of the covenant, which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horev.
We can see it all written out clearly in this weekly portion, in all its details. And now we see something amazing. Chapter 31 of Deuteronomy contains an amazing set of words. As you know, these days the Torah codes have been revealed, presenting things that had been concealed by the Torah in an incredibly sophisticated way that makes it impossible to accept that the Torah was written by humans, because no person is able to encode fixed codes into the text that bear witness to future events, only if that author knows them in advance, and that would also mean that they must occur. Who knew 3,300 years in advance that there’d be a Holocaust? And how it would be called? And its details? And so on. Using our 49-50 code, here we have in Deut. 31, verses 16, 17 and 18, which you can check:
 And the Lord said to Moses: Behold, you are about to lie with your forefathers,…
Remember, this is from 3,300 years ago!
…and this nation will rise up and stray after the deities of the nations of the land, into which they are coming. And they will forsake Me and violate My covenant which I made with them.
During the Holocaust, the Jews in Germany reached 60% assimilation. In other words, the plague of heresy and the Enlightenment were spreading through the Jewish people at such stunning rates that nothing would be left of them soon. Unfortunately the scope of assimilation in the USA is even greater than prior to the Holocaust, at 75%, and in Europe it’s even higher. After the Holocaust, we numbered 18 million. Now, 50 years later, we number 15 million. How can that be? What about reproduction? Assimilation is once again cutting furiously into the Jewish people.
 And My fury will rage against them on that day, and I will abandon them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will befall them, and they will say on that day, ‘Is it not because our God is no longer in my midst, that these evils have befallen me?’
So, as for the question, “Where was God in the Holocaust?”
 And I will hide My face on that day, because of all the evil they have committed, when they turned to other deities.
Take the Torah from verses 16, 17, 18: from the letter “heh” of the name “Moshe” (Moses) and count 49 letters. The 50th is “shin.” From there 49 letters, the 50th is “vav,” from there 49 and the 50th is “aleph,” from there 49 and the 50th is “heh.” That spells Hasho’ah, encoded into the Torah 3,300 years ago when the term “Sho’ah,” Holocaust, was not even known.
One verse more after those three: verse 19, says:
 And now, write for yourselves this song, and teach it to the Children of Israel. Place it into their mouths, in order that this song will be for Me as a witness for the children of Israel.
That is clear testimony that this song is contained in the holy Torah, enclosing a code relating to the Jewish people’s future.
So to us it seems like a lack of mercy, if the Jews at the time of the Holocaust, the enlightened so to speak, and others — and I’ll talk in a moment about the righteous and the children — but if they’d continued living, identifying with the Germans, wearing their clothes, speaking their language, living their lifestyle, and living until very old age, where would they have gone? To the worst of all types of Hell. So what did God do? What he promised in the Torah, he upheld: and what is the outcome? They died as though sanctifying God’s name, on the basis of “let them die innocent rather than die guilty,” receiving the rewards that Rabbi Akiva did, instead of causing an entire system of reincarnation and dreadful suffering in the eternal life, and not just for a few years. God simply cut out the gangrene that spread through the Jewish people: when necrosis begins, there’s no choice, the limb must be amputated to ensure the disease doesn’t spread and contaminate the entire body. If God would not have amputated the disease, an amount that was sufficient to be safe – and God forbid those who hate Israel may never rise again – but you know that necrosis is amputated with part of the living flesh to be safe. The righteous who were caught up innocently in this – since it says that when a decree comes from heaven, the destroying force is given free rein and does not differentiate between righteous and evil, and Israel is each other’s guarantor. We can liken it to a boat. Each passenger has a cabin. If one passenger makes a hole in their cabin, everyone sinks.
And there are certain commandments, (Lev. 19:17), “You shall not hate your fellow in your heart. Rebuke your fellowman frankly so you will not share in his sin.” A person who doesn’t rebuke another when the first has the ability to do so, but ignores the situation, is considered as participating in that sin. There are many states of reckoning, which I won’t go into here, but it’s all a matter of judgment.
And little children who are not obligated to the commandments at all: what were they judged for? In fact they came into the world via reincarnation, in order to rectify their past, such as a fetus that passed through the mother when she has an abortion, God forbid; or children who suddenly die in the crib, or other cases. These tragedies are not random, there’s no such thing as random, there’s no death without misdeed. Everything has its perfect calculation, but it may not always happen in our present time. A small boy up until 13 is not obligated to fulfill commandments at all, so what is the child being punished for? Not for the sin of the here and now but for sins of previous incarnations, since it says that if a person chose not to make penance then God may give the person a second chance, and sometimes children appear in the world only for the sake of that rectification. So the particular child is born to the particular parents who must undergo this kind of sorrow for their own rectification, and the situation is then corrected, the various misdeeds are accounted for; otherwise it wouldn’t be justice. That is why the verse states: (Psalms 19:10): “The judgments of the Lord are true, altogether just” and also (Deut. 32:4), “The deeds of the Rock are perfect, for all His ways are just; a faithful God without injustice, He is righteous and upright.”
The sages are asked: What praise can you state does not cause injustice? A human flesh and blood judge does not seek injustice: the book of rules can be consulted and if it states “25 years for murder” the murderer is given 25 years. Is that injustice? It is. Why? The murderer is sent to prison for 25 years, but simultaneously, the murderer’s wife is like a widow for 25 years, and the murderer’s children are like orphans for that time. God is not like that. There is no injustice. If there’s an evil person who must die due to his actions, God will not carry out the person’s due until everyone around that person has been examined, those who love the person, until they are all worthy of the level of sorrow that will occur at the person’s death. But if there is even one who will not be saddened by the person’s death, God will wait until that person’s actions lead her or him, too, to sorrow over the designated person’s death. Only then will God enact the evil person’s judgment. That’s why it says that in a family that experiences a death, all are impacted; in a group that experiences a death, everyone in the group is affected; when a city experiences a death, the whole city should be affected. We’re talking about someone who died not at an expectable age. Why? Because if the members of the family, group or city were so righteous that they do not deserve to be made sorrowful, then God would have waited because he does not inflict injustice. So if the person has died at an early age, and you are sorrowed, that means you are included in the judgment.
And anyway, this focus on being merciful, which you’re familiar with in these times, that’s a divine gift you’ve been given. You and I think we’re compassionate: if our child gets dirty, we clean them up right away; if our child is hurt, we show immediately that we care. If our friend’s child gets dirty, we call the child’s mother: Come and get the child, why aren’t you watching out for her or him? Why aren’t you looking after the child? Is this child yours? And the woman might say: No, not mine, let the mother take care of them or let them cry.
So where, really, is our compassion? It’s selective, for those close to us there’s more, for those more distant from us there’s less. If we hear there’s a catastrophe in some country, we commiserate. That’s all? That’s what we’re able to do? So we got a milligram of compassion and we ask the Most Compassionate One, “Where’s your mercy?”
The electricity company produced electricity. Look how great it is: we can have air conditioning, power, energy. And the company says to us: Just beware with this electricity and don’t put your finger in the socket. Sure, it can tickle, but it can also kill.
The company warns, the electricity sparks, but along comes someone who wants the tickle, and instead ends up like charcoal. Is the electricity company guilty?
God says (Lev. 26:3), if you follow my statutes, you get all the blessings, electricity, light, everything. But beware! Because if you don’t follow my statutes, you’ll end up like charcoal. That’s the answer, in brief, with all the pain it rouses.