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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Thought (6/12)
Section - Question 12.23: What is the significance and importance of suffering and punishment in Judaism?

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                                  Answer:
   
   J udaism teaches that G-d chose the Jews for certain roles and
   responsibilities within a cosmic plan. While G-d loves and is
   responsive to pleas from his "chosen people", G-d's actions conform to
   this timeless scheme for the world. Inevitably, some human suffering
   will occur and must be accepted for the sake of others or the
   community as a whole or in congruence with G-d's eternal plan. The
   parable of Moses on Mount Nebo illustrates another salient feature of
   the Judaic view of suffering. After leading the Jewish people through
   forty years in the desert wilderness, Moses, the receiver of the Ten
   Commandments and the "servant of G-d", ascends the mountain and looks
   across the Jordan river to Canaan. The covenant G-d had made with
   Moses was for him to live to see the promised land, but he was neither
   to enter nor witness his people entering Israel. Now, having attained
   that goal, Moses bargains with the Angel of Death, imploring God to
   allow him to observe his people entering the promised land, if only as
   a bird flying high above or as a blade of grass on atop Mount Nebo.
   G-d declines, gently at first, later with fury. The covenant must be
   maintained. G-d demands that Moses' corpse be brought to him! The
   parable ends as the Angel of Death approaches the heavenly throne
   carrying the dead body of Moses and observes that G-d is weeping. (
   From The Nature of Suffering and the Nature of Opportunity at the End
   of Life Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 237-252,
   May 1996. Ira R. Byock, M.D. )

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Thought (6/12)
Previous Document: Question 12.22: What is the Jewish position on communicating with the dead?
Next Document: Question 12.24: Why are there different names for G-d?

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