Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The hand of Hashem

This keeps on happening.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An outbreak of deadly bird flu in Israel is God's punishment for calls in election ads to legalize gay marriages, according to Rabbi David Basri, a prominent sage preaching Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism.

The bird flu outbreak stemmed from far-left political parties "strengthening and encouraging homosexuality," Rabbi Basri's son quoted him as saying.

OrthoMom (I, II) has been posting on other such proclamations. It is also a pet peeve of DovBear's. Allow me to add my two cents.

If we believe that G-d created and continues to control the universe, then it follows that He causes all such things to happen. Bird Flu, Katrina, Ariel Sharon's stroke. All of them. It's true that obese, overweight people in high stress environments are at increased risk for strokes and that meteorological factors predicted a high likelihood of a cat-4 hurricane hitting the gulf coast sooner or later. But no one [that matters] denies that the laws of health and meteorology are part of the teva that G-d created.

Bird Flu also, has been around for a little while now. It was only a matter of time before it reached Israel. Surely G-d could have miraculously caused all infected birds to avoid Israel but apparently, at this time we were not worthy of having Him tinker with the awesome nature that He created.

[Short aside:
I once heard from my Rosh Yeshiva who said over from the Drashos HaRan that G-d resists performing miracles because every miracle is in effect a question on G-d's ability to create a perfect teva. The universe is G-d's creation, not some architect. One would expect a human creation to be flawed and to require intervention to keep it functioning properly. One would not expect G-d's handiwork to require such intervention, surely G-d could have created a perfect world that would never require miracles.]

So G-d, either directly or indirectly, brought Bird Flu to Israel. I guess the next question to ask is, why? For what purpose?

When the attacks of 9/11 occurred, Rav Chaim Kraisworth, the late Rav of Antwerp was in the United States and was unable to return to Antwerp before Rosh Hashanah. I had the privilege of hearing him speak to an informal gathering on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. He mentioned the attacks and he explained that Teshuvah is the message whenever there is a national tragedy. However, he cautioned, the job of pinpointing specific reasons was formerly a role for a navi. The Gemarah says that nevua was taken away and given to shottim. So basically, unless one wants to go on the record as a shotah, don't specify reasons. No one knows the reason.

Also, by pinpointing a specific reason, the result is less teshuvah, not more. Say for example, someone would say that X was G-d's response for too much lashon hara and I happen to be very careful with regard to that particular avairah. The result of claiming to be able to pinpoint the reason for X will be that I will continue doing exactly what I'm doing because the reason that was given did not apply to me. That is the exact opposite from what is required in the face of a national calamity:
בזמן שתבוא צרה ויזעקו לה ויריעו, יידעו הכול שבגלל מעשיהם הרעים הרע להן--ככתוב "עוונותיכם, הטו אלה" (ירמיהו ה,כה) לכם, וזה הוא שיגרום להם להסיר הצרה מעליהם.