Thursday, December 9, 2010

Judgments: Above and Below

 "When there is no judgment below, there is judgment above". [Devarim Rabbah 5:4]

"You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your fellow man. And do not bear (lo tisa) sin on his account."  [Leviticus 19:17]

Reuven scoffed and cursed a Torah scholar.  The following day the scholar went to the rabbinic court to sue.  Reuven's friends asked the scholar to forgive Reuven, but he refused.

The peacemakers said: "You have already renounced your claim against him three times."

"When did I renounce my claim?" asked the scholar, "and before whom?"

"Before Hashem" said the peacemakers.  "In the prayers of Mincha, Arvit and Shacharit, which you prayed since yesterday's unfortunate incident.  At the end of the Amidah you said "To those who curse me, my soul will be silent".  After such a declaration how can you speak in court against someone who cursed you?"

"You have spoken well" said the scholar, "but allow me to explain the true meaning of this prayer.

"There are two ways to lodge a complaint. Either the soul can speak in the Heavenly Court when it ascends each night, or the body can speak in the earthly court.

"The prayer says "To those who curse me, my soul will be silent".  I am still entitled to lodge a complaint in the earthly court.

"Woe to the victim who cries out, more than to the one who wronged him." [Bava Kamma 93a]

A victim calls upon G-d to punish the one who wronged him - and Heaven treats the victim more severely!  Why?

Let's say Reuven called on G-d to judge Shimon for doing him a grave injustice. Shimon will not be punished until the Heavenly Court judges him.  But Reuven himself probably wronged others at some point in his life - and for him, judicial procedures can be dispensed with.  He himself admitted that such sins warrant severe punishment!
Source: from the writings of the Ben Ish Chai


Anonymous said...

That's hardly seems fair. If a person is hurting because of another person and the pain is so bad and he might have had to live with it for years and noone helps.......the only place for the victim to go for help is HaShem. Is it then only to be punished for his cry for help to HaShem from his oppressor? Why is it that the victim gets judge for other things right away and the bad person will only be judged later? I just don't understand the thought behind this.....

Devorah said...

I totally agree with you.

I should have included this following item:
"You shall not hate your brother in your heart" even if he derides and curses you. "You shall surely rebuke with your fellow man" - rebuke him before the earthly court, which consists of your fellow men. "And do not raise up (lo tisa) sin for him" - do not bring his sins up to heaven to be judged there.

(from the writings of the Ben Ish Chai)

The question remains, for me anyway.... what do you do if you are unable to bring the person to an earthly court?

I guess the answer is then that they will be judged from Above?? (not sure about this, maybe someone else can comment)

And to get back to your original question: we shouldn't ask Hashem to PUNISH someone else, we should instead pray for that person to do teshuva.

I am having trouble with this as well, which is why I posted this article today.

Anonymous said...

blessings. i know much less than anyone of you, and more over, am a noahide, not a jew. however from some of parsha and other torah reading, below are some guidance from holy tzaddiks.
RMeir's wife told him, pray sins to be removed and not sinners. Just as G-d forgives us, He expects us to forgive others.

In explaining the prohibition against taking revenge, Sefer HaChinuch writes: “Among the roots of this mitzvah is that a person know and take to heart that whatever happens to him, whether for good or for bad, is brought about by Hashem, Blessed is He, for nothing can occur that is contrary to His will. Therefore, when one is pained or annoyed by another, he should realize that his sins have caused this and that this has been decreed by Hashem. Thus he should not turn his thoughts to revenge, for this person is not the real cause of his hurt; rather, sin is the cause.’’ This explanation does not discount the fact that the one who caused hurt did so of his own free will and will be held accountable for his misdeed.

rebbe menachem schneerson -
everything that occurs comes from Him, and he is only good. but if you and your world are not prepared to receive such good, it may manifest itself as apparent bad. struggle hard to see the good, think positively -and then the good will become revealed.

rosh hashanah 17a rava said: who ever refrains from exacting his measure (i.e. from responding to the hurt caused him), [the heavenly tribunal] removes from him all his sins, as it is written, “he forgives transgressions and passes over sins” (micah 7:18). whose sin does he forgive? one who passes over sins (committed against himself).

Jewish law requires us to thank Hashem for the seemingly bad just as we thank Him for the good (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 222:3), it’s a lot easier to thank Hashem when we realize that by looking at the world through eyes of emuna, there really is no bad in the world!

(Koheles 12:13). Then each and every person will receive the full measure of justice without any mercy or any favoritism as G-d had originally intended to create the world (Yearos Devash 1 Derash 6).
Rabbi Yehonosan Eibshetz, zt'l explains that all the suffering a person has while alive in this world is not in the category of punishment. It is only there to wake him up in order that he mend his ways. Similarly, he says the suffering of Gehinom are also not in the category of punishments. Their purpose is only to clean and purify the soul from the sins which contaminated it in order that it be fitting to behold the face of the King on the "Great Day of Judgment". The main punishment will be meted out then (unless one repented before death).

One who learns to overlook the bad things that people do to them, will be forgiven for all their sins (measure for measure). (Talmud Yoma 23a)

"Be concerned that you do not offend, not that you are not offended" - Mildred N. Ryder)

Seeking Revenge
Why should we be kind to guilty offenders?
Because whatever that person did to you ultimately stems from G-d. The person was merely an agent from G-d, Who decreed that this thing should occur to you. Thus, since "everything that G-d does is for the good", you must repay this person - who brought this "good" to you - with kindness.
[Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe]

please,this is not advice from me, but these are the lessons that helped me when i faced similar problems, i cant be a tzaddik but i can strive to be a righteous believing gentile by internalising their guidance.

Anonymous said...

Devorah, you are right..that is my problem as well. When you can't bring the offenders to the court if Olam Haze..what do you do? If the offenders just lie and act innocent around other. People, then you know they will never tell the truth, especially in beit din. I am not referring to revenge chas ve shalom, but to a situation where a Jew wants to tell HaShem of all that is happening to him and ask HaShem to relief him of all the pain that he suffered from the other people. I have always remained quiet all but once. I can tell you that it feels like there is no relief from the pain and it goes on for years.... When its one against many.......there is no place for that Jew to go but to his father for help. Not to be punished for asking for help. I guess that is the way it has to be in this world of sheker? I want to say thanks for the comment made by "rainbow 10", it is hard to remember all the sages said when you are in pain...thanks for the effort and kind posting.
I know everything comes from HaShem is good, I know not to kick the yesurim but to accept them with love but at the end I just don't understand what is a victim to do if he/she can't even ask H"B for help from her enemies. Thank you Devorah, keep writing we all need your chizukim. B"SD. Maya.

Devorah said...

I know exactly what you mean Maya. There is no obvious "justice" down here, sometimes it's very hard to believe anything at all.