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It is easy to maintain faith when everything is going well in our lives. We say to ourselves: “G-d’s in His heaven, all’s right with the world.” But what do we tell ourselves now, after the horrendous massacre of October 7th; the captives still in Gaza in great danger; beautiful young Israeli soldiers losing their lives on a daily basis; the unendurable agony of families who will never be whole again?

I search everywhere for answers to this question, as every day elicits tears when I watch the TV news. Every soldier that falls is my son, even though I never met him, and I suspect all Israeli mothers feel the same. We have no answer for things beyond our understanding. An entire book of 42 chapters has been written on this subject – the Book of Job . The prophet Habbakuk asked G-d: “Why do You allow violence, lawlessness, crime and cruelty to spread everywhere?” (Habbakuk 1:3). Rather than rebuke him, G-d had his questions recorded in the Bible for all to read. He created humans with free will even in Gan Eden. He told the first humans, Adam and Eve, what He expected of them, but did not force them to obey. Today, humans are often victimized by other imperfect humans (Ecclesiastes 8:9).


When G-d speaks, sometimes humans refuse to listen. “Thou shalt not murder” – even then G-d is powerless. Cain killed Abel; Pharoah killed Israelites.

Faith is an indefinable emotion. It doesn’t remove pain, but it can get you through it, help you to endure it. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Voltaire wrote: Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”

I turned to my friend and mentor, Rabbi Moshe Berliner of Jerusalem, for his take on this difficult question. He referred me to the Ramchal in the 20th chapter of The Path of the Just. He stipulates that when you have a decision to make as to what to focus on, it is important to look at the consequences of your decision. He told me: “Concerning suffering, one can put one’s focus on why, which so far I haven’t found a response that brings me to a good place. Here my belief has to move to a place where it includes not knowing, accepting belief in spite of my not knowing and believing that His will is that in the face of suffering, we are on the side of the good guys.”

For myself, after battling with this question for the past two months, I can’t come up with a definitive answer, but I believe that we must carry on Jewish existence by clinging to G-d and our faith, and standing by all who are oppressed. If I abandon Him, I give a victory to our enemies – it’s what they want, that the name of Israel would no longer be remembered. G-d is in the sanctity of life, that will give us strength.


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Dvora Waysman is the author of 14 books including “The Pomegranate Pendant,” now a movie titled "The Golden Pomegranate," and a newly-released novella, "Searching for Susan." She can be contacted at [email protected]