GOOD MORNING! My dear friend Rabbi Saul Rosenblatt’s wife, Elana, passed to the next world at a very young age. He spent years finding the balance between his overwhelming pain of loss and his concurrent appreciation that everything God does is for the best. From his situation he wrote Why Bad Things Don’t Happen to Good People to help others. This is a must read for those who are suffering from pain and loss.
To understand why bad things don’t happen to good people, we must start with definitions of bad and good. Writes Rabbi Rosenblatt, “The Jewish People have a very different definition of bad – and based on this definition, nothing bad ever really ‘happens’ in this world. The easiest way to define ‘bad’ is by first defining ‘good’.
” ‘Good’ is something that enables you to become more Godly. And conversely, “bad” is something that makes you a less Godly person. Torah is good. Mitzvos, good deeds, are good. God Himself is good. And conversely, moving away from God – the source and root of all goodness – is bad.
“Put a different way, good is that which leads us towards self-perfection; that which enables us to become the great human beings we are capable of becoming; that which helps us to find the closeness to God that is available to us. Bad is that which takes us away from God, that which hinders us from achieving our potential.
“Let’s take a look at pain in the context of these definitions. As a rule, does pain and difficulty in life make it easier or harder to rise spiritually? In truth, the answer is probably neither. We have free will and we make our own choices in life. But in looking at the world, it does seem to me that great people in history have more often than not found their greatness through adversity. Greatness is not usually found among those who spend their days lying on beaches and sailing around the world in million-dollar yachts. Greatness is much more often found among those who face adversity head on and overcome it. Those who achieve their true potential are usually those who struggle through difficult situations and build their character in the process. Read more……