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Jewish Culture

A Fascinating Story!

Moshe Unger
Posted 7/30/21

I heard the following fascinating story. A couple who lived in the now-collapsed Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, experienced a fire four years ago in their apartment at night. They woke …

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Jewish Culture

A Fascinating Story!

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I heard the following fascinating story. A couple who lived in the now-collapsed Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, experienced a fire four years ago in their apartment at night. They woke up in middle of the night to see flames engulfing their apartment. They made it out in time intact. However, the experience of being awakened suddenly to a dangerous fire, left them with an emotional scar.

In the following years their sleep was disturbed many times by fears of an imminent danger. The night that the collapse happened they were awakened with the sound of cracking walls. They ran out of the building right away and were saved. There were a few reports of people hearing the cracking noises, but few realized the imminent disaster. This couple escaped because they had the intense fear from their prior experience. The fire and the subsequent emotional effect saved their lives four years later.

Now, we don’t understand the ways of G-d.  There is an old quote that goes like this. “The religious have to deal with theodicy, which is the question of why bad things happen, and the atheists have to deal with explaining the why of everything else!”

The question of why evil exists is not an easy one, but the religious should not be deterred by the question because without the premise of One G-d, there are many more things that need to be explained, how and why they came to be.

There are philosophical answers to theodicy and it’s good to know them but dealing with it is really an internal work of every person integrating within themselves their facing of the existence of evil. There is so much good in the world so to say that the world is bad or that no one runs it places the person in a random or evil world. A person’s worldview is the world that they exist in. It’s much better to live in a world of benevolence than to live in a world of randomness or evil.

A very effective way to deal with evil is to find little points of kindness within the evil. A few years ago, I used to do fundraising for my media project, and I once went out for lunch with a wealthy city guy. Right at the beginning of our conversation he tells me, “My biggest problem with religion is how to deal with the bad that happens”. I smiled and I said, “Yes, it is not an easy challenge”, and I just continued the conversation. Frankly, I didn’t know how to address it.

Later, for some reason, the 9/11 terror attacks came up in the conversation. He told me that he remembers that day clearly and although it was a horrible attack, everyone felt something ethereal. People helped each other and people felt a togetherness that is very uncommon in the city. Months afterwards, he tells me, people still felt an elation and weren’t so into their fortune-collecting as always.

I said to him, “Well, that addresses your first point”. Yes, we don’t know “why” the bad thing happened and we are not looking for “reasons”. The point of G-d is a being that is beyond our understanding. However, the silver linings and the good things that we find within the bad things help us realize that everything has a plan and that we were supposed to go through these life experiences.

He listened and accepted. At the end, he didn’t take part in my project financially. From a fundraising perspective that meeting was unsuccessful, but it did seem like that meeting was supposed to happen. If it is orchestrated from Above and it was supposed to happen, then it is surely for the good even if we don’t see it yet.

Comments? Email me: moshe@mosheunger.com.

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