Guck to Gold: Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Rabbi Elchanan Poupko


In one of my early days studying in Yeshiva, I was introduced to a compelling logical argument that would help me a lot later on when struggling with difficult Talmudic passages; if someone gives you too many answers to one question, that means there probably is no real answer to the question.

So many answers have been given to the question why bad things happen to good people; here too it seems reasonable to believe that The answer, remains elusive. Despite the question being asked, re-asked, and will-be-asked and endless amount of times, a final answer has yet to have emerged. Indeed the Mishna in Pirkey Avot (4:15) teaches:“ Rabbi Yannai would say: We have no comprehension of the tranquility of the wicked, nor of the suffering of the righteous.” Despite various approaches to this question that were known at the time, Rabbi Yannai believes that The ultimate answer, is yet to be known.

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Inside Out: Justice and Equality for Non-Jews in Jewish Law, by Rabbi Elchanan Poupko

Anti-Semitic incidents, even in the relatively benign USA, have gone up more than 20% in the year 2014.

As an ancient people, we are well aware of the side effects of anti-Semitism. One of these side effects is the allegation that Jews and Judaism treat non-Jews “differently” and should therefore not be surprised when Jews are treated differently. Before addressing the content of this argument, it is important to note, that with this very allegation, the discriminatory treatment has already begun.

The fact that every religion treats believers in one way, and non-believers in another is a well-established one. The thoroughness with which this aspect of Judaism is examined, relative to other religions, is unparalleled and highly disproportionate. To scrutinize Judaism on its treatment of those who aren’t members is not only odd, but is out of place and astonishing.

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