Friday, September 21, 2012

The Elegant Answer to all Theological Questions

In a Friday morning learning group, we were sitting this morning and learning over the ma'aseh of Nakdimon ben Gurion in Ta'anis 19b. The members of the group were struggling with the issues the episode raises - viz., was Nakdimon relying on a miracle, why did he have to daven, why did Hashem answer so late, etc. - issues of bitachon, hashgacha and tefilla. Weighty stuff.

In responding to one of the questions as to why things couldn't just go right from the onset, one of the erudite members of the group, Reb David Bockman, said, simply:

"But then there is no story."

I was blown away. Those simple six words answer all the questions. When I expressed that response at first the other members thought I was being facetious. But I was, and am, not.

Think about it...


  1. Moreover, an apikores (Epicurean) is someone who rejects the story: "Eat, drink and make merry, for tomorrow we die."

  2. Very true that the ups and downs, the tsarus and yeshuos that Hashem gives us are what makes the story of life. However if Adam Harishon had not sinned the story would be altogether different. We now have to go through so much more to enjoy the Tov that Hashem intends to give us, and i suppose in a way that makes it even sweeter in the end.

  3. We have to deal with events as they actually unfold.

  4. Isn't that classic gemara? All kinds of cases which in reality we have fences that keep us very far away from, yet in learning our job is to probe the details, nuances, and categories.

  5. R. Yaakov Kaminetzky once asked a yeshiva ketana class "why did Paroh have to change Yosef's name to Tzafnas Pa'aneach? His answer was "how would sefer Breishis have ended had Yaakov heard that there was a guy named Yosef running the show in Egypt?"