Thank you for your upbeat column. I am writing on behalf of a friend who could use some uplifting advice. Her aunt just passed away at the young age of 48, and my friend is devastated, asking why would G-d do this to her aunt?
What should I tell her?
Amanda, Colorado Springs
We extend our condolences to your friend on the loss of her aunt. May her soul have an elevation. The following story should shed a comforting perspective:
Mark and Lenny were neighbors. Mark was a simple, poor individual who lived by himself, while Lenny was a wealthy, successful entrepreneur.
One Friday, Mark knocked on Lennys door to borrow two crystal goblets, as he was expecting a guest for Shabbos, and was embarrassed to utilize paper goods. After assuring Lenny he would clean the goblets and return them Sunday morning, Mark excitedly took his borrowed treasure home. True to his word, Sunday morning found Mark returning the goblets but amazingly, with two miniature goblets in tow.
Whats this,asked the (pleasantly) surprised Lenny.
I dont understand it, came the reply, but after washing the goblets, I left them overnight, and this morning I find they somehow reproduced themselves. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles.
Lenny gave Mark a strange look, but was quick to comply.
Two weeks later, Lenny heard another knock on the door.
Can I borrow four sets of silverware? You see, Im having three guests for Shabbos.
No problem; bring them back Sunday morning. Your credit is good.
They were returned Sunday morning, with the miraculous birth of four miniature sets of silverware.
Lenny happily took them.
A month later came another knock, this time for eight sets of china. No problem. By this time, Lenny had a special cabinet installed to store the miniatures.
And once again, another miracle; eight miniature sets of china.
Before Pesach, Mark knocks on the door. Im having 16 guests. Can I borrow goblets, silverware, and china?
Lenny was bursting with anticipation as he carted out the articles. What a boon, he thought to himself.
But alas, no knock came the day after Pesach, nor the day that followed.
Worried, Lenny knocked on Marks door, only to find him crying.
Is everything okay? And why did you not return the dishes?
Mark wiped his eyes as he lamented, A tragedy occurred; the goblets, silverware and china all died in childbirth.
Lenny screamed, That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.
And Mark retorted, You didnt say that when it was a healthy childbirth.
Amanda, we often experience many years of health, wealth and success without questioning them. We take them for granted. It is only when something doesnt go our way when we ask, Why did G-d do this?
More letters in this week’s IJN. Order your copy from Carol at (303) 861-2334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send your questions to DearTzviling@ijn.com, to be answered with wit, wisdom and humor by identical twins Rabbis Yisroel Engel (Denver) and Shloime Engel (Montreal) who share their combined 100 years of experience.