Weekly Letter: Why Must an Innocent Person Suffer?

During the Three Weeks, the Rebbe shares some thoughts on our golus and suffering, the rectification of its cause and the study of Iyov. May we take the Rebbe’s message to heart and do away with the golus, immediately and totally. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s trusted secretary Rabbi Nissan Mindel.

By the Grace of G-d
10th of Menachem Av, 5741
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Blessing Greeting:

I am in receipt of your letter in which you write many complaints against Hashem.
Considering that your letter was written in the midst of the Nine Days, just three days before Tisha B’Av, it is surprising that there is no mention of the biggest complaint, that it is almost 2,000 years since the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed and our Jewish people was exiled and, yet we have not been redeemed, and are still in golus, etc.
At the conclusion of your letter you stated that you need an answer to your questions. But surely you know that such questions as “Why must an innocent person suffer?” and the like, have been asked and also answered a long time ago and indeed, there is a whole book, the Book of Iyov (Job) that deals with all such questions and in greater depth. If you will study that book, especially with the commentary, you will find the answers, and in a much better way than can be given in a letter.
Inasmuch as everything is by Divine Providence and you have written to me in a matter you could more easily discuss with any knowledgeable Jew, and certainly with a Rabbi in your vicinity, I want to make use of this opportunity to call your attention to a matter which should also be self evident, but because of its importance and timeliness, deserves to be mentioned here. Now that we are coming from the period of the Three Weeks and the Nine Days, connected with the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and the golus, every Jew is expected to make a special effort in matters of Torah and mitzvos. In order to rectify the cause of the present golus which is, as we say in our prayers, “Because of our sins we have been exiled from our land.” And when everyone will do his and her share in the direction of removing the cause, as mentioned above, the Divine Promise of the ge’ulo will be immediately fulfilled and the present days of sadness will be transformed into days of gladness and rejoicing.
If anyone should ask himself or herself what can I personally do to contribute toward this end, and how can an action of mine be of any significance, etc., one need only remember the teaching of our Sages, which the Rambam, the Guide to the Perplexed in his time and in all subsequent generations, incorporated in his Code as a point of halachah to the effect: A person should consider himself and the whole world, as equi-balanced. Therefore, by doing one more mitzvah or good deed, one tips the scale in favor of the positive, both for himself as well as for the world at large. (Hil. Teshuvo3:4). Thus it is clear that when a person has the opportunity to say a good word, think a good thought and do a good deed, it should not be treated lightly, for it might change the whole complex of the individual, the community and our whole Jewish people.
I trust you will be able to convey the above thought to the young people whom you and your organization are working with, to bring them closer to Torah Yiddishkeit in the everyday life and experience.
With blessing,

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