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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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Saying America was Punished with Sandy Hook is Blasphemous

There is nothing beneficial that comes from suffering that could have not been achieved far more effectively through a positive means.

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Photo Credit: Memorial for Sandy Hook victims



Our role as humans is not to understand God’s plan in the face of horror and tragedy, but to challenge God and demand that human life always be protected and preserved.

Did I say demand? Yes, humanity has rights before God. We are His children. He commanded us to preserve and promote life always. “Choose life,” Moses orders. And the Creator abides by the same dictates He expects His creatures to.

What kind of warped morality and fraudulent religion would say that God allows the slaughter of children because there are no prayers in public schools? With this insipid argument, is Fischer offering a defense or an indictment of God? Would this make you want to pray to and worship a God who looks askance as children are blown away by an assault rifle as punishment, Fischer says, for the actions of their government?

I have grown weary of those who say that suffering is somehow redemptive, that it carries with it a positive outcome. I do not deny that this is at times so. Those who suffer can sometimes emerge humbler, wiser, gentler. But there is nothing beneficial that comes from suffering that could have not been achieved far more effectively through a positive means. To the contrary, suffering leaves us broken and cynical, disbelieving and forlorn, miserable and depressed.

I visited Sandy Hook this week. As I got closer to the school, I felt in my bones a palpable sense of evil, that something monstrous had taken place there and it gave me the chills. Stop telling me that the American people are so wicked that they deserve this.

Never again should we say that Israeli soldiers die because Kibbutznikim eat rabbit and other non-kosher meat, as a prominent Rabbi once suggested. And never again should we say that the Jews of the holocaust died because they wanted to cease being Jewish, choosing to be German instead.

Because I am disgusted with this kind of thought, I wrote The Fed-Up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. But I could not have divined that more and more of my beloved Christian brothers and sisters would continue to say publicly that innocent children die because America is a sinful place.

Enough is enough.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

About the Author: Shmuley Boteach, whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the founder of The World Values Network and the international bestselling author of 30 books, including “The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


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