Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hashem and Human Suffering

Rav Tzadok Hakohein of Lublin, zt”l, explains the detrimental results of inflicting pain.“One must be very careful to avoid causing even the slightest pain to any person even for a mitzvah. The proof of this is that the verse, 'על כל חולציו'—‘I will punish all who oppress him.’ The sages taught that even a gabbai tzedakah may not cause pain to another.
“Tana D’vei Eliyahu writes that even the stone used for סקילה and the tree a person was crucified upon will be judged for being the vehicle of such pain. This also means in a case where one was rightly sentenced to capital punishment in beis din. This explains why the Sanhedrin must fast on the day their sentence is carried out. They fast to atone for causing pain, even though it is deserved.
“Now we can better understand the statement that a Sanhedrin who kills more often than once in seven years is considered ‘bloody.’ Even if their ruling was in exact accordance with the halachah, this does not mitigate their status. Similarly, we find that one who accidentally kills someone who deserved to die must nevertheless also be exiled to the city of refuge.
He concluded, “The pain he must atone for in such cases is that of Hashem Himself. Our sages teach that Hashem is not happy with the suffering of the wicked since when the wicked suffer, Hashem also suffers as it were. How much more so does Hashem suffer, as it were, for the pain of tzaddikim who experience pain to fulfill the mitzvos!”


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this worthy posting.

Can you please explain the words you quote from the Gemoro: "even a gabbai of Teddaka may not cause pain".

We see from the Torah that Moshe Rabbeinu was punished for "hitting the stone" instead of speaking to it.
I always took that to mean that not only did he did not follow Hashem's exact command but that he "inflicted pain" on even an inanimate object of creation. And for this he was punished.

Would you kindly correct or enlighten me please and in particular about the term "even a Gabbai of Tzedakka"?

Micha Golshevsky said...

B'simcha rabbah. Thank you for your comment.
I have never heard that explanation of Moshe's hitting the rock. Interesting.
I have always understood along the lines of the Maharal that Moshe had an opportunity to reach the heart of the Jewish nation by speaking with the rock. They would then have understood that through the power of speech, they could also pierce their hearts which were likened to stone.
Unfortunately we did not have enough merit. Therefore Moshe hit the rock, our hearts closed and things went a different way.
One example of a Gabai Tzeddakah not causing pain: He is exhorted to bear the anger and disappointment of disgruntled poor people. Even if they curse him he should not respond. (From Yerushalmi in Bava Basra and Peah by the way.)