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Theodicy: Morim Sheet

Theodicy: Morim Sheet

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Using David's lament for Shaul and Yonatan as a jumping off point, this shiur looks at different ways of looking at the problem of theodicy, seeing the flaws in each approach, leading into Rav Soloveitchik's view as seen in Kol Dodi Dofek
Using David's lament for Shaul and Yonatan as a jumping off point, this shiur looks at different ways of looking at the problem of theodicy, seeing the flaws in each approach, leading into Rav Soloveitchik's view as seen in Kol Dodi Dofek

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Published by: Aqibha Y. Weisinger Etc on Aug 26, 2013
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06/30/2014

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Background:
Shaul and Yonatan are killed in battle. David is sad about this. Articulates this sadness and
demands to know how it could be that such great men fell in battle. Thus, we’re going to be using this as
a springboard to discuss theodicy (the question of why bad things happen to good people.)
 
Objective:
1. To discuss the question of theodicy and hopefully not ruin anyone’s lives while doing so.
 2. To discuss the numerous solutions given to the problem, and the problems that exist with eachapproach.
 
3. The piece by Rav Soloveitchik. The question of theodicy cannot be solved by philosophizing. Evilexists, suffering exists and they cannot be made to disappear because you thought of a theological justification. Rather, suffering must be used as a motivation to overcome sin and evil.1) Shmuel Bet 1:19-23
 
)( : ) )( :)( :)( ::
Israel, your beauty was ruined on your hills! Oh, how those heroes fell! 20 Don’t tell the news in Gath!Don’t an
nounce it in the streets of Ashkelon. Those Philistine cities would be happy! Those foreigners
would be glad. 21 “May no rain or dew fall on you, mountains of Gilboa. May there be no offerings coming
from your fields. The shields of the heroes rusted there
. Saul’s shield was not rubbed with oil. 22Jonathan’s bow killed its share of enemies, and Saul’s sword killed its share! They have spilled the bloodof men now dead. They cut into the fat of strong men. 23 “Saul and Jonathan—
how dear they were to us!In life they loved being together, and even death did not separate them! They were faster than eagles andstronger than lions.
 
Because of Sin?
2) Talmud Bavli Masechet Shabbat 55a
 
. :
Rav Ami said: There is no death without sin, and no suffering without sin.3) Iyov, 11:5-
6 (Iyov’s friend trying to explain why Iyov’s life has been so terrible recently)
 
)( : )( :
I wish God would answer you and tell you that you are wrong. 6 He could tell you the secret of wisdom.He would tell you that every story has two sides. You can be sure of this: God is not punishing you asmuch as he should.
 
 
How do these sources understand human suffering? What is its cause?
 
4) Iyov 13:23-24
 
)( : )(:
How many sins have I committed? What wrongs have I done? Show me where I went wrong or how Isinned. 24 God, why do you avoid me and treat me like your enemy?
 
 
What is Iyov’s response to his friend?
 
5) Shabbat 55b
 
 
, :,-
 And thus we conclude, there is death without sin, there is suffering without sin, and Rav Ami has beenrefuted.
What does the gemara conclude about Rav Ami’s statement? What problems does this raise?
 
The World to Come?
 
7) Kiddushin 39b
 
, : , ;: , : ;, ,, ? ? , ,- -' ! ..
There is no reward for mitzvot in this world, as it is taught, R. Yaakov said: There is no mitzvah written inthe torah whose reward is stated next to it which does not depend on the resurrection of the dead. By
honoring one’s father and mother it stat
es, so that your days will be prolonged, and by sending away the
mother bird it says, so that it will be good for you and prolong your days. Now, if one’s father tells him to
go up to the nest and take some baby birds, and he sends away the mother bird and takes the babybirds, and on his return, he falls and dies, where is the goodness of his days? Where is the prolonging of his days? Rather, so that it will be good for you- in the world that is fully good, and that it will prolong your days- in the world
that is completely prolonged. But maybe this didn’t happen? R. Yaakov saw it happen.
 
1. What does it mean that there is no reward for mitzvot in this world? What does this mean about thequestion of righteous people suffering?
2. What is R. Yaakov’s solut
ion? What forced him to arrive to this solution? How does this solve theproblem?
 
8) Horayot 10b
 
( : ,?),: ? : .,.
Rav Nachman bar Rav Chisda expounded, What does it mean when it is written, “there is a futility that is
done on the earth (that the righteous who receive according to the actions of the wicked, and there are
wicked who receive according to the actions of the righteous, this too is futility”)? Fortunate are the
righteous who receive according to the actions of the wicked in the next world in this world, and woe tothe wicked who receive according to the actions of the righteous in the next world in this world. Rava said,would it be so terrible if the righteous enjoyed both worlds? Rather, Rava said, fortunate are the righteouswho receive according to the actions of the wicked in this world in this world, and woe to the wicked whoreceive according to the actions of the righteous in this world in this world.1. What solution does Rav Nachman bar Chisda propose?2. What problem does Rava raise?9) Mishna Avot 4:15
 

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